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Is Your Heat Pump Hurting Your Home?

Your heat pump is vital this time of year as temperatures drop and the need for indoor comfort increases. If it’s not running efficiently, however, it could be causing costly issues whether you realize it or not. Here are some ways your heat pump could be hurting your home:

Old, Inefficient Heating

Do you know the efficiency rating of your current heat pump system? In the HVAC industry, a SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) rating is determined for heat pump systems and is often displayed on the manufacturer’s stickers on your indoor or outdoor unit. Modern heat pumps have a SEER rating between 13-21, and if you have an older heat pump system, the rating is significantly lower. The higher the SEER rating, the more energy-efficient a system is.

You might think that, since your home is warm during the winter and the heat seems to be working as it should, your heat pump system is efficient. The true efficiency will reveal itself when you get your electric bill each month. If you have an old, outdated heat pump, you could be spending much more than what is standard for your heating bill each month.

Outdated Refrigerant

HVAC systems require freon, or refrigerant, in order to properly cool a home. Since the systems use this refrigerant, they need to be refilled when they get low. A system low on freon will have a very difficult, if not impossible, time cooling your home. Many older heat pumps use a class of refrigerants called R-22. As of this month (January 1, 2020), the EPA has banned the production and importation of R-22 to the United States due to the harmful effects it was found to have on the Earth’s ozone layer.

So why not just add a different type of refrigerant to keep your R-22-dependent heat pump running? Unfortunately, this is a gamble for homeowners as it can end up causing costly issues, and it is not recommended by the EPA or the HVAC industry. Most refrigerant conversions, if successful, will only buy a homeowner another year or two of useful life for their heat pump system. The phase-out and banning of R-22 refrigerant ultimately render those heat pump systems obsolete, so if your home relies on one to heat and cool your home, your best option is replacement.

Lack of Regular Maintenance

While other HVAC systems may use one unit for heat (furnace) and one unit for A/C, a heat pump provides both heating and cooling from the same unit. This means the full system is often continuously running year-round. Because of this increased use, routine maintenance check-ups are essential. Air filters need changing regularly in order to prevent low indoor air quality that can spread bacteria and germs very easily. The ductwork should be inspected to ensure no air leaking, which could lead to heating and cooling inefficiencies, as well as higher electric bills. Refrigerant levels need to be checked and topped off seasonally unless you’re alright with the possibility of 1) a home with no A/C in the middle of summer and 2) costly emergency repair fees.

In Need of Heat Pump Replacement in MD?

S&L Prime A/C & Heating is your best resource for heating and cooling equipment and services in Maryland. We have over 30 years of experience in the industry and are dedicated to keeping MD residents safe and comfortable in their homes. Contact us today to schedule a heat pump replacement estimate and see the amazing difference a new, more efficient system makes in your home.

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