With increasing energy costs and dropping temperatures, many homeowners are concerned about heat pump performance this winter. There are three primary reasons for poor performance, so look at these first if you think your heat pump is not operating as well as it should be.
- Low airflow: If the airflow of your system is less than 350 cubic feet per minute per ton of your heat pump's capacity, the efficiency could suffer. A qualified heating and cooling contractor can measure air flow and determine the reason it is impeded. The number one reason is a clogged filter, so check that first and replace or clean as needed. Possible other solutions include cleaning the coil, increasing fan speed or modifying ductwork.
- Leaky ducts: No matter what type of heating and cooling system you have, leaky ducts will decrease efficiency and possibly impact home comfort. Check for air leaks in your ductwork and seal them with mastic tape or another appropriate material. Flexible ductwork may need to be replaced if it is torn or punctured. Tests have shown that duct leakage can be as high as 40% or more commonly!
- Incorrect refrigerant charge: If you have too much or not enough refrigerant, heat pump performance can really suffer. Your technician should check the refrigerant charge every time you have preventive maintenance. The correct charge depends on the system, but the manufacturer will specify the temperatures and pressures that should occur when the refrigerant charge is correct. It is important to correct any air flow problems before these measurements are taken because poor air flow can impact the measurements.
If you live in the Cleveland area and are concerned about heat pump performance in your home, call the professionals at P.K. Wadsworth Heating and Cooling. We'll help you identify the problem and find the best solution to keeping your heat pump at optimal performance all year long.
photo credit: joethorn