If you are new to heat pumps, you may not know that they will not increase the temperature in your home as fast as a furnace. Homeowners who have recently installed this type of heating system may have unrealistic expectations. The advantage of a heat pump is that it provides more even heating at a reduced cost. Furnaces are like pressing your gas pedal to the ground; they provide heat quickly but burn a lot of fuel. Alternatively, heat pumps are more like when you use cruise control; the unit provides consistent heating while being economical. However, your heat pump should be capable of keeping your home comfortable despite not heating as fast as you may expect. Use this guide to learn the common culprits that may prevent your heat pump from keeping your home cozy.

Restricted Airflow

Every HVAC system depends on its ability to effectively circulate air through the heating unit and back into your home to be efficient. For heat pumps, there are three primary causes of an airflow restriction.

A Clogged Air Filter

The most common restriction is a clogged air filter in both central and ductless systems. Filters in ductless mini-splits require cleaning about every two weeks.

For central systems, filters require changing at least every three months. However, you may need to replace yours more often based on several factors, including if you have pets that shed a lot and if your system runs more often than usual due to severe weather. In addition, you will have to switch out higher-quality filters more frequently because they capture more airborne particles.

Blocked or Closed Vents

Another common issue in central systems is closed or blocked vents. If the air cannot get out of the vents and circulate, your home won’t feel consistently comfortable. For the best performance, keep all of your vents open. Further, ensure that each one has at least 6 inches clear above and around it to allow air to flow out effectively. Air return vents may require more clearance, depending on their size. Check with your HVAC technician during your next maintenance visit for the proper clearance for your system.

Blocked Outdoor Unit

The outside unit of a heat pump system has vents on its sides to allow airflow through it. In summer, these vents can become clogged by leaves, grass cuttings, or other debris. Alternatively, they can become jammed with snow and ice in the winter. For your heat pump to operate effectively, it needs at least three feet of free space around it. Making removing snow from around your outdoor unit part of your clean-up routine after a storm will help ensure your system keeps your house warm.

Improperly Sized Heat Pump

Getting the proper-size heat pump to ensure that it delivers neither too much nor too little heating capacity is critical. If the system is too small, it will fail to raise your home’s temperature to your desired level. Conversely, if it’s too big, it will short cycle, preventing effective heating. A professional technician will help you determine the proper size based on multiple factors.

Insufficient Home Insulation

Your HVAC system is only part of the equation determining how effectively your home heats, especially for heat pumps. These systems don’t produce as much heat as furnaces, so the increase is more gradual. If your home isn’t insulated and sealed well, a heat pump may not produce enough heat to raise it to a comfortable level. The recommended insulation for homes in West Texas is R49, which is about 14 inches thick.

Insufficient Refrigerant

Like air conditioners, heat pumps require the proper refrigerant level to operate correctly. Unfortunately, if insufficient refrigerant is the culprit behind your heat pump not heating your home to your desired temperature, a leak is likely the culprit. Heat pumps are closed systems and should not need regular refrigerant refills. A HVAC technician can find and repair the leak quickly.

Mechanical or Maintenance Issues

Finally, your system may have a variety of mechanical issues that will reduce the system’s capacity to heat. These issues may include a faulty compressor, faulty circulating fan, bad capacitor, or a stuck reversing valve, just to name a few. It could also be a problem that is simply solved by maintenance, such as a loose electrical connection or dirty internal components.

Property owners around El Paso need a company they trust and have turned to E.P. Omega Air Conditioning LLC for more than ten years for their HVAC needs. Our award-winning team provides cooling and heating repair, maintenance, and installation, including heat pumps and boilers. We also offer indoor air quality solutions and ductwork installation, repair, and cleaning. Call today to schedule a heat pump repair or maintenance appointment with one of our expert technicians.

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