5 Signs Your Heat Pump Needs Replacing | DIY Tips

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Frigidaire heat pumpphoto: Frigidaire

5 warning signs your heat pump needs to be replaced. It is important to identify whether your home HVAC system needs to be repaired or replaced, and many indicators will tell you that it is time to say goodbye to the old heating unit and getting the new one.

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A heat pump that is regularly maintained is built to last a long time. But, even the best of them can't last forever. Over time, even the best HVAC system will begin to show signs of wear and tear. While some basic repairs can keep your heat pump going for years, there comes a time when it's time to change the old heating device.

But, how can you tell if your system needs replacing? Well, you certainly don't have to wait until the system suddenly dies on you. That would mean going days without heating or air conditioning while you wait for a replacement system. Talk about cruel and unusual punishment.

That said, there are always telltale signs that your HVAC is due for a replacement, and we'll mention a few below. Once you notice some of these signs, then that's a good indicator that you need to order a replacement system.

When your heat pump needs constant repairs, or it is costly

Now, it is normal for your heat pump to need repairs once in a while. But if you discover that you need to call in the technician more often than usual, then pay attention. Ideally, the system should not need servicing more than twice a year. Once before the cold season and again, before the hot season begins. This is because the heat pump will most likely work throughout the year.

Of course, you might need to call in the technician once or twice for some additional service or minor repairs. However, when this happens too frequently, particularly when the unit has been running for years, then that's a sign.

And, even if the system is only a few years old, but the repairs just cost too much, then that is one sure sign that it needs replacing. No need pouring in good money when you could easily just order in a new unit.

Some of these costly repairs might involve:

  • Compressors
  • Blower motors
  • Evaporator coils
  • Electronics/control board
  • Ductwork related problems

It is worth mentioning that the service call can cost you up to $200, and it might take a few hours of labor to replace the component. But, for some it is worth it.

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Increased energy bill

Basically, one advantage which heat pumps have over other types of HVAC systems is the ultra-high energy efficiency.

Heat pumps are supposed to save you money. But even the best of them start to lose efficiency after a few years. When you've been running a heat pump almost consistently for years, the performance and efficiency of the unit will decrease. The result is that the energy bill will begin to increase until it's much higher than what you usually pay.

It's important to pay attention to this sign because your heat pump might still be functioning at peak mode. However, if you notice that your energy bill has suddenly spiked, you should not ignore it. The best course of action is to perform an energy audit so that you know exactly what caused the increase in your energy bill. If you discover that the HVAC system is the cause, then investigate so you can find out the reason behind the decreased efficiency.

Most times, it just means that you need a new system, especially if the old one has been running for a while.

If the heat pump produces less heat/cool air than before

This is one problem you might experience after a few years of using the heat pump system. It might still be blowing air, but it's not producing as much heat or cold air as before. If you notice that the heat pump is producing cold air even though it's set to a high temperature, or warm air when set to a lower temperature, then you need to look into it.

Of course, it might just be that you need to change the filters. So, that should be the first place you check. If you've already changed the filters and recently serviced the unit, then it's a clear sign that it needs a replacement.

Understandably, for most people, the heat pump unit is used alongside some other source of heating, like a furnace. But you might notice that a large percentage of the heating is coming from the furnace alone.

Then again, it might be that there is quite a drop in airflow. If you have set your thermostat to a warm temperature, but the space is uncomfortably cold, the heat pump is not operating at peak performance.

Don't ignore it, but do a thorough check and, if necessary, place an order for a new one. This way you're not left without heating or cooling if your unit suddenly stops working.

Leaks and excessive moisture

Generally, most heat pumps let out a bit of condensation or moisture outside. So, it isn't strange to have some water dripping from the unit outside the house. But, it is a problem if there is extensive condensation.

However, it is not supposed to leak or let out the moisture inside the house. If you notice this, it means that there's a problem with the condenser. You should call your repair service immediately, or it could damage your stuff in the house.

In the same way, if you notice that the amount of water dripping on the outside has increased, then you should pay attention. Excessive moisture and leaks mean that the heat pump has a problem. Now, this does not necessarily mean that you need to replace a heat pump, although if it is a few years old, it might need replacing. Get a technician to look at the system immediately and be prepared to order a new one, as well.

The system is older than 10 years

Now, this might make you pause because a 10-year-old heat pump might still be running fine. And, why would you want to fix it if it ain't broke, right? But, a heat pump is not like a gas furnace or any other type of HVAC system. It works all year round. So, if a system is working all year round for ten years, it's only a matter of time before it begins to need constant repairs.

Besides, energystar.gov recommends that you should replace a heat pump once it's older than 10 years. Replacing it with a high-efficiency Energy Star rated unit could save you as much as 20% in heating costs.

Face it; if your heat pump is over 10 years and still running okay, you could still have higher energy costs. And to be honest, you are merely living on borrowed time because it could conk out at any time. So, this is an excellent time to start shopping for a replacement heat pump.

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In conclusion

Finally, heat pumps generally serve faithfully, particularly when you get a good quality one. It can last for a long time with careful maintenance. But there comes a time when it's going to need replacing. This is to ensure that you maintain the high efficiency of your HVAC and keep your space well heated or cooled.

Once you notice any of the signs above, get your technician to check your system immediately. Then get prepared to order a replacement so that you're not left stranded when your current unit gives out. For higher efficiency and also to save energy costs, be sure to order a unit that is Energy Star rated.

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