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Prepare Heat Pumps for Cold Weather – Boston, Worcester

02 Oct 2013

A heat pump heats your home during the winter and cools it during the summer. It is recommended that homeowners perform routine maintenance on home heating systems and heat pumps before the cold weather sets in for good in Boston and Worcester.

Heat pump maintenance is important. Small problems that are not addressed early can lead to very expensive problems down the road. Maintaining a heat pump is more technical than maintenance for the average more traditional heating system, so a professional service person is needed when and if the pump malfunctions and for regular service and maintenance calls. You can keep the system free of dirt by keeping the filter clean and by keeping the flow of air unobstructed.

Cold weather can wreak havoc on outdoor air conditioning and heating equipment. The outdoor heat pump may ice up outside. Some of that is normal in a heat pump. However, excessive build-up of more than 1/8 of an inch is a reason to call the professionals.

If the outdoor heat pump is steaming, don’t panic. The colder the outdoor temperature, the more the system needs to go through a defrost cycle. Do not be alarmed; people with new heat pumps have seen them steaming in the cold weather and have thought the heat pump was on fire.

Outdoor Maintenance for a Heat Pump

It's important to replace the filters and clean and lubricate the components of a heat pump on a regular basis. But heat pumps have an outdoor unit that contains a compressor, a coil, a fan, and other components. To function properly, this unit should be kept free of debris such as leaves and dirt. The unit should be level on its concrete support pad.

Clean pine needles, leaves, and dirt out of updraft fans regularly. Make sure the power to the unit is off before tackling this type of cleaning. A vacuum cleaner hose can sometimes be inserted between the fan blades to remove debris from the sides and bottom of the unit.

At the beginning of each heating season, the unit should be serviced. It is important to be sure that the metal cabinet is level from side to side and from front to back. The piping insulation should also be checked for deterioration. If this insulation is faulty it needs to be replaced.

For heat pump service, maintenance, and repair, contact Greater Boston Heating and Plumbing.

Heat Pumps Are More Efficient for Heating and Cooling Your Home - Boston, Worcester

09 Aug 2013

In Worcester and Boston home owners are considering how to better heat and cool their homes in order to save on energy costs. Homeowners have been seeing and hearing a lot about “heat pumps” but many don’t know what they are. Heat pumps give you an energy-efficient alternative to furnaces and air conditioners. In many cases a heat pump is preferred to separate heating and cooling systems.

Heat pumps use less energy to move heat from a cool space to a warm space, making the cool space cooler and the warm space warmer. During the winter, heat pumps draw heat from the cooler external air and bring it inside while moving the cooler inside air, out; in the summer, heat pumps move heat from inside your home to the outdoors.  They move heat they don’t generate heat, so they can give up to 4 times the amount of energy they consume. They transfer heat, they don’t burn fuel to create heat, and this makes them very efficient.

If you heat your home with electricity, a heat pump can cut down on the amount of electricity you use for heating by up to 30% to 40%. High-efficiency heat pumps dehumidify your home better than most central AC units. This saves you money in the summer.

There are also gas-fired heat pumps, called absorption heat pumps. These use heat as their energy source, so they can be fueled by natural gas, propane, solar-heated water, or geothermal-heated water.

For homes without ducts, air-source heat pumps are also available in a ductless version called a mini-split heat pump. For homes that have "non-ducted" heating systems this is a good energy efficient add on.

One of the biggest advantages of a heat pump over a standard HVAC system is that you don’t need to install separate systems to for heating and cooling.

For more information on heat pumps, contact Greater Boston Plumbing and Heating.

Does the Heat Pump Need Replacement?

20 Mar 2013

Many homes in Boston and Worcester are heated and cooled with a heat pump. A heat pump looks a lot like an air conditioner. Actually, air conditioners are heat pumps, but they only cool air. An actual HNAC unit heat pump provides both heating and cooling.

Heat pumps of today do a much better job of heating and cooling a home because they are much more efficient than the ones from years past. Because they are so much more efficient, many home owners prefer them over oil and gas heat.

However, just like every major appliance, heat pumps have a life span. They will wear out, become less efficient, and eventually, they need to be replaced. It is important to know how much life you have left in your heat pump and what it will cost to replace.

Basically the average heat pump is going to last you between 10 to 15 years. Yours may be older than 15 years, but if so, its demise is imminent.

There is a silver lining to this. A new heat pump will definitely be more efficient than the one you are replacing. And, if you are replacing a 10 year old heat pump with one with an  ENERGY STAR certification, you will probably save up to 20% on heating and cooling bills.

Another way to tell if your heat pump need replacing is through its performance. If it requires frequent or regular repairs or if your heating and cooling bills are higher than normal, it may be time to consider a replacement. Consider heat pump replacement seriously if the unit is 10 years old or older.

It is possible that over time, some rooms in your home are less comfortable than others, this could mean that the heat pump is struggling to do its job. If your heat pump is noisier than it used to be, this may also mean that your need to replace it.

If your heat pump is due for replacement, start by having it serviced.  Ask the technician for an assessment of the remaining life in the unit. For more information on HVAC service or replacement, contact Greater Boston Plumbing and Heating.


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