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Heat Pump Operating Tips

If you have a heat pump, then you know how they are more efficient than traditional heating and air conditioning systems, and that they allow you to have only one system instead of having to install separate systems for heating and cooling. But did you know that there are ways to operate your heat pump to make it even more efficient? And that there certain things that you must do to protect it?

This article covers operating tips for how to maximize the efficiency of your heat pump, and some do’s and don’ts for protecting your system.

1. Operating Your Heat Pump Efficiently

Unlike traditional heating and cooling systems, heat pumps are actually most efficient when they are run continuously, so you don’t want to be turning your system off and on.  Just leave it always turned on.

Your system was designed to run with a certain airflow, so do not close off more than 10% of the air registers that you have in your home. And if your system does not have a variable speed fan, then do not operate the system in manual mode, as operating at a continuous fan level can degrade your heat pump’s performance.

When you are operating your system in “heating” mode, avoid changing your thermostat setting by more than one degree at a time, to avoid wasting energy. And also, do not turn down your heat pump’s thermostat if it causes the backup heater to come on, as this is more expensive to operate (see costs and reviews of programmable thermostat for heat pumps).

To help maintain top efficiency, you should periodically clean your system’s indoor unit heat exchanger using a vacuum cleaner with a soft brush attachment (helpful accessory: hvac coil cleaner). And each year you should have a professional do a complete inspection, cleaning, and adjustment of your heat pump system.

And lastly, you should be sure that there is adequate airflow around your outside condenser unit. But you need to be careful that it is not exposed to direct high winds, as this can actually reduce the efficiency of your system.

2. Protecting Your System

If you ever experience a power outage lasting more than 30 minutes, then you should be sure to switch your thermostat to the “emergency heat” setting and keep it in this mode for several hours, to ensure that the refrigerant in the system is adequately warmed up.

You should never shut off the power to your outside condenser unit unless you are cleaning or working on it. And if you are ever cleaning or working on your outside condenser unit, you need to be absolutely sure to shut off the power to it.

And another reason that your outdoor condenser unit should be protected from direct high winds is to prevent it from being damaged by flying debris.


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