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Heat Pump Maintenance

Looking after your new heat pump

Now that you own a geothermal/geoexchange energy system in your home or agricultural building we need to address maintenance. As with most mechanical systems and equipment, preventative maintenance not only avoids potential system shutdowns but can also save money on unneeded service calls. Here are a few tips you can use before calling your service contractor.

1)      Pay attention to the thermostat settings

Ensure the correct settings on the thermostat. If a setting has been accidentally changed, the geothermal heat pump unit may not be receiving the correct signals to either heat or cool your facility. Familiarize yourself with the user manuals accompanying the unit paying particular attention to warning lights and settings.

2)      Air Filter Maintenance

Any restrictions to the air flow in your geothermal system will greatly degrade the overall performance. If the energy that the heat pump is producing does not get circulated quickly enough, pressure in the refrigerant system could shut down the unit automatically to prevent long term damage. A clogged air filter, or one sufficiently dirty to restrict airflow, can hamper the efficiency of the unit and can also cause shut down in certain cases. In any case, never operate the unit without an air filter as warranties will be affected. Pay attention to other blockages in the home from any air outlets that may be covered up.  

3)      Ensure all circuit breakers or disconnect switches for the unit are ON

If any circuit breakers “trip” when you switch on the unit call the installing contractor immediately.  Separate circuit breakers are generally installed if heat pumps have auxiliary electric heaters. In most cases a separate breaker will be in play for the heat pump compressor as well as the auxiliary heat unit.

4)      Is the power to the circulating pump on?

In most cases, the heat pump unit itself will provide the power to both circulate the water in the ground loop as well as the heat exchange unit. There are cases where there are in fact two separate power supplies depending on the loop design and configuration. Ensure all power is on to the overall system. Separate controls for the well pump (if in play) may require repair.

5)      Read the Owner’s Manual

In all probability the manufacturer of your heat pump will have specific recommendations for the types of equipment installed in your home or business location.

When air conditioning your home, condensation forms on the inside coils of the heat pump. To safely remove this condensate, a drain tube is usually connected to the heat pump and typically flows to a nearby floor drain. This may be a specific drain hole or even a sump pump pit. If no drain is located immediately in the vicinity of the heat pump unit, it may be necessary to install a small pump to move this condensate to a drain further out. Over time, dirt, dust and other debris may plug this line. If this happens, water may accumulate in the drain pan under the air coil. A thorough cleaning of the drain and the hose should solve this issue.

6)      Issues requiring a service technician

At times it may become necessary to call on the services of a trained professional. It is important that you choose someone qualified to work on heat pumps specifically. If you are having issues with any of the items listed below it is probably time to contact a qualified heat pump service technician:

i:              if you hear any unusual noises (gurgling) coming from the pipes connecting the ground loop to the heat pump

ii:            if any circuit breakers that trip repeatedly after resetting them

iii:           if you notice a significant drop in air conditioning or heating of the unit after you have performed the service tips listed above- (clean filter and correct thermostat settings)

iv:           if you hear any unusual noises coming from the heat pump unit itself as water is being pumped through it

v:            if any lights are flashing on the "fault" panel, read the fault condition and contact your trained service professional


kc&b geoexchange can look after any service requirements--for any heat pump model. If you are interested in protecting your investment further, please call kc&b and ask about the maintenance service contract available to ensure your peace of mind in dealing with this key component of your home or business.