Troubleshooting Your Heat Pump: What You can do and What You Should Leave for the Baldwin County AL TechnicianPublished on: July 13, 2012
In our modern age of easily accessible indoor climate control devices, people have a tendency to take for granted comfortable temperatures in their homes and offices. We expect our air conditioning service to work year round without a hitch. However, when something goes wrong, that’s when heat pump maintenance becomes a matter of tremendous priority, especially during the summer season in southern regions such as Baldwin County AL.
Do-It-Yourself Heat Pump Maintenance
There are some things the homeowner can do before calling an expert. The best way for someone who’s not an expert in air conditioning service and repair to avoid situations that require repair is to practice the prevention method. The belief that HVAC systems are maintenance free is a costly misconception. Just like your vehicle needs a routine maintenance and tune-ups (oil changes, steering fluid, etc.), HVAC equipment needs periodic maintenance as well, at least once a year.
Regularly changing the filter is one of the most important heat pump maintenance tasks a homeowner can do. Once every three months should suffice, unless you run the unit on a continual basis. Much like central air conditioners, heat pumps require an outdoor unit that typically houses a compressor, fan and a coil. This equipment is susceptible to outdoor elements, such as leaves, dirt, dust and other debris. Routine maintenance includes:
• Removing the grille and cleaning out the debris
• Inspecting the piping and other components for deterioration
• Replacing faulty insulation
General heat pump maintenance and air conditioning service instructions can be found in the owner’s manual. It is critical that you make sure the power is off before tackling these basic tasks. If the system doesn’t power-on, try resetting the motor, ensure that the thermostat is working properly, and then check for a blown fuse or tripped circuit breaker.
Air Conditioning Service that Requires a Professional
HVAC systems have vulnerable components that require mechanical and sometimes electrical expertise that most people don’t have. If in doubt about your ability to properly diagnose and handle a heat pump maintenance issue, it’s best to seek help from a qualified professional. Common issues that may require an expert usually include:
• Leaky or noisy ducts
• Squeaking or rattling – may indicate loose parts, or fan belt adjustment or replacement
• Grinding sounds – may indicate worn out motor bearings
• Low airflow from the registers
• Ice forming on the outdoor unit
• System power failure not caused by external factors (i.e. tripped circuit breaker, utility power failure, etc.)
• Runs in very short cycles – possible blower issue
• Unusual odors – chemical leakage or possible mold build-up
Sometimes you can try and isolate the source of the problem even if you can’t actually repair it. However, chemical leaks are serious matters, which can cause injury to those not qualified to handle broken leaky components. In some cases, do-it-yourself air conditioning service can end up costing more than the cost of hiring a professional. Other times, tackling the assessment yourself just doesn’t make sense, especially when you should have your system regularly inspected by a professional anyway.