These Heat Pump Red Flags Indicate You May Need to Replace Your System
Much like the technology found in a refrigerator, heat pumps use electricity to extract outside air and transfer thermal energy that heats or cools your home. Because heat is transferred rather than generated, these devices can be more efficient than more conventional HVAC solutions, like boilers and electric heaters.
But like any unit, heat pumps don’t last forever. And as winter approaches, the last thing you want is for your system to call it quits in the middle of a cold snap. How do you know it’s time for an upgrade, though? Paying close attention to your heat pump’s age and how it’s running is a good start. Experts suggest watching out for these eight warning signs.
Your Heat Pump Is More Than a Decade Old
According to ENERGY STAR®, the government-backed label for energy efficiency, you should consider a heat pump installation if your unit is over 10 years old. Even if your system doesn’t seem like it’s on its last legs, it could be more cost-effective for you to replace it.
That being said, the longevity of a heat pump largely depends on the quality of the equipment, how often it’s used, and how well your home is insulated. Ten years is a good rule of thumb, but it’s best to have your system routinely inspected by an HVAC professional to determine when you can benefit from a new heat pump.
You’re Not Able to Get Comfortable
The St. Louis area is no stranger to bitterly cold weather. If it seems like your heat pump is struggling to warm your home, it could be a sign that your unit is nearing the end of its useful life. As heat pump systems age, they become less effective at moving air, making it difficult to feel completely comfortable.
If your home is having trouble reaching your preferred temperature, first contact an HVAC company near you. An experienced technician will be able to assess your unit and recommend whether you need repairs or a full replacement.
Your Heat Pump Unevenly Distributes Air
One room is too hot. Another is too cold. Nowhere is “just right.” If this sounds like your home, there’s a good chance a new heat pump installation is on the horizon. Because your system decreases in efficiency over time, it loses its ability to distribute air evenly.
Keep in mind that cracks, joint gaps, and other openings throughout your home can also cause warm air to escape, leading to irregular heating. To maintain the right temperature inside, you’ll want to make sure doors and windows are properly sealed. This ensures air leaks are kept to a minimum and can even help you save on utility bills since your heat pump won’t be forced to work harder than necessary.
Your Heat Pump Runs Constantly
Heat pump systems are designed to operate in cycles, meaning they turn on to reach your thermostat’s set temperature and turn off once your home is comfortably heated or cooled. A unit that’s short cycling, or switching off before completing its full cycle, is a red flag that something is up.
This can also happen if your heat pump isn’t the right size for your home. A unit that’s too small will run around the clock in an effort to maintain the desired temperature.
Whether your heat pump is simply old or incorrectly sized, an HVAC specialist will generally advise replacement, ultimately keeping energy and repair costs down.
Your Home Has Poor Indoor Air Quality
Your heat pump does more than heat and cool your home. It also plays an important role in your overall indoor air quality. If you notice that areas of your home are particularly humid, the air inside seems stale, or your allergies are flaring up, it’s possible your heat pump is no longer filtering air effectively.
In these cases, an old heat pump may need to be replaced. However, there are other air quality solutions for relatively new heat pumps. Whole-home dehumidifiers and air purification systems can make a world of difference and help you breathe easy all winter long.
Your Heat Pump Needs Regular Repairs
Consistently calling your area HVAC experts for heat pump repairs can grow tiring and costly. If your unit always seems to need tune-ups and fixes, it’s time to think about getting a heat pump installation.
Although upgrading your system involves more of an upfront investment, you’ll do your wallet a favor in the long run thanks to lower utility bills and fewer repairs. In addition, you can enjoy the added peace of mind that your new heat pump will help you and your family stay comfortable, no matter if temperatures outside are dipping below zero or soaring above 100.
Your Heat Pump Makes Weird Noises
A heat pump typically makes a bit of noise when it starts and ends a cycle, but otherwise, it should remain relatively quiet during normal operation. A unit that’s emitting unusual sounds, like grinding, clicking, or banging, should be serviced as soon as possible.
Getting in touch with an HVAC professional puts you one step closer to uncovering the root of the problem. Rattling noises may indicate loose parts, while squeaking could be a sign of a larger issue. A qualified technician will know what to look for and can make recommendations on the best course of action.
Your Energy Bills Are Unexpectedly High
It’s reasonable to expect that your utility bills will increase in the winter and summer months, as these seasons are responsible for the most extreme outside temperatures. As a result, your heat pump system has to produce more energy to keep your home warm or cool.
However, higher-than-normal heating and cooling costs are tell-tale signs that your unit is on its way out. A new heat pump can significantly improve your energy efficiency, saving you money on monthly bills.
What Do I Do If My Heat Pump Is Experiencing Any of These Issues?
If you’re all too familiar with one or more of these problems, you should have your heat pump assessed by an HVAC specialist. A reputable business will employ knowledge and trained technicians who can skillfully maintain, repair, and replace all makes and models of heating and cooling equipment.
Even if your heat pump is running as it should, it’s still good practice to have it checked on a regular basis. A professional can spot issues before they get out of hand, causing you to have a new heat pump installed sooner than expected.
For more information about heat pump systems and having yours inspected, reach out to the trusted local experts for HVAC services in St. Louis.