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So You're Buying A Home With A Heat Pump

  1. Make sure the electrical power in the Breaker Panel has been turned on at the outdoor unit for at least 8 hours. In cold weather 12 hours is better. This is to prevent damage to your compressor.
  2. Be sure all supply and return vents are open and not obstructed.
  3. Make sure that your indoor unit has a clean air filter installed to prevent clogging the fins on the coil.
Your heat pump does not really make heat. It is an energy-efficient system for both heating and cooling your home. It “pumps” or transfers heat from an area where it is not needed to an area where it is needed. Operating in the winter months, it extracts heat from the air outdoors and transfers it into your home. In the summer months, the process reverses and extracts heat from the air indoors and moves it outside.  
Most heat pump installations are called a split system. Your outdoor unit contains the compressor and a heat exchanger, called a coil. The indoor unit contains another coil, a fan that blows air through the duct system, a return grille, and electric heating elements.
The two units are connected by a refrigerant line used to move a gas refrigerant (Freon) between the indoor and outdoor coils. This refrigerant has the ability to extract heat from the air, even at very cool temperatures.
When heating your home, the refrigerant extracts heat from outdoor air drawn across the outdoor coil. During this process the refrigerant becomes hot and is made even hotter while going through the compressor.
This hot gas is transferred by a copper tube to the indoor coil. The fan then draws air through the return grille and pushes the air across the indoor coil. The hot gas then transfers its heat into the air blown across the coil and into the duct system.   
When cooling your home, the process is reversed. The refrigerant absorbs heat from the house air blown across the indoor coil. During this process, the house heat and humidity are removed from the air, and replaced with cool, dry air throughout your home by way of your duct system.
The absorbed heat is then carried by the refrigerant to the outdoor unit, sent through the compressor, then to the outdoor coil, and then released into the outdoor air.
Supplemental/ Emergency Heat
In times of cooler exterior temperatures, such as less than 40 degrees, the heat pump system is equipped with “Electric Resistance Coils,” which will serve two purposes. When outdoor temperatures are less than 40 degrees, the heat pump is not as efficient as it will be in warmer temperatures, and requires help in keeping your home warm. This is called “Supplemental,” or “Auxiliary” heating; where the resistance coils will kick on to supplement your heat pump in its warming efforts. Heating bills will normally rise during this process.
Also, if your heat pump were to break down, the Electric Resistance Coils will serve as emergency heat, designed to keep your home warm until repairs can be made to your heat pump system. In this mode, heating bills will run very high; so prompt repairs will be highly recommended.
Change Your Filter(s)
Your heat pump filter(s) is the most important item to be monitored. The filter collects the house dust particles out of the air to keep it away from your heat pumps’ indoor coil for maximum service. This is a very important part of your heat pump system. If not kept clean, it can substantially increase energy consumption, cause equipment damage, and reduce the comfort that your heat pump is designed to provide for you and your family.
The heat pump filter should be cleaned or replaced each month.
In The Event of Electrical Outage
If there is a power outage lasting for more than 30-45 minutes during the heating season, switch your thermostat to emergency heat. When power to the home is restored, allow the emergency heat to heat your home for about an hour. This will enable the compressor to warm any refrigerant that may still be in the compressor, and possibly save your compressor from any potential damage.
After an hour has gone by, switch the thermostat back to its normal setting. 
Potential Signs of Trouble to Be Aware Of
Call a heating specialist when you experience any of the following:
1-     Unit runs constantly (never seems to shut down)
2-     Outdoor unit is continuously iced over
3-     No air flow coming out of registers
4-     Emergency heat or auxiliary heat light is always on
5-     Unusual sounds or noise
For Reliable, "Home Inspection Service," call BestChoice today! Enjoy the comfort of knowing that your potential new home has been inspected with YOUR best interests in mind! 540-898-8188
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