Test to See if Your Heat Pump Is Ready for Cold Weather

cooling_house_heating_houseThe weather forecasters have predicted we’ve seen the last of the warm weather for the year, and that means it’s time to get ready for some steady days of rainy and cooler temperatures. The real chill won’t hit us quite yet, but this is that essential time of year when we have to prepare our homes for the winter. Yes, that means cleaning out the gutters, putting in weather stripping, winterizing the pipes, etc.

An important part of any winter preparations here in the Willamette Valley is arranging for fall maintenance for a residential heating system. We addressed this in our last post, and why you only want to rely on professionals when it comes to this service. However, if you own a heat pump, there’s an important job you can do right now—after you’ve scheduled your annual maintenance with us, of course—and that’s to test to see if the heat pump is ready to handle cold weather.

Remember, A Heat Pump Does Twice the Work of Other HVAC Systems

This is something to keep in mind: a heat pump works as both an air conditioner and a heater. You’ve already gotten extensive use from it during the last summer, and that means it has picked up plenty of wear and tear over the season. It uses the exact same components to provide heating power during the winter, so all the summer stress may end up giving it trouble when it changes to heating mode. There may also be a hidden problem you won’t know about until you switch the heat pump into heating mode…

Test the Heat Pump in Heating Mode

Even if you don’t need to have warmth in your home yet, go to the thermostat and raise the temperature to the point where it will activate the heat pump to provide heat. Now check the vents in the house to see if warm air is coming from them. If the air feels cool or around room temperature, the heat pump may be unable to switch from cooling to heating. This trouble is usually because of a broken reversing valve, the part of the heat pump responsible for switching the system between its two modes. You wouldn’t have noticed this during the summer. Fixing the reversing valve will require replacing it, which is a job for professionals only.

Change the Air Filter

There’s another possibility behind poor heating performance from a heat pump, and that’s a clogged air filter. The air filter needs to be changed every 1 to 3 months when the heat pump is running regularly, and a congested filter will make it harder for the system to work as either and AC or heater. You can change the filter out now, but it’s also part of regular maintenance.

If we discover you need heat pump repair in Albany, OR, we’ll have the system fixed for you in time for winter. Even if nothing seems wrong with your heat pump, make sure you contact us to get on the schedule with our pre-paid maintenance program.

Midway Mechanical Inc. has served the Willamette Valley for over 40 years.

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