How to Troubleshoot a Heat Pump

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, like central air conditioners, 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 by removing the grille, which is held to the frame by a series of retaining screws. 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, set a carpenters' level across the top of the metal cabinet and check the level from side to side and from front to back. If the unit is no longer level on the pad, lift the pad back to level by prying it up with a pry bar or a piece of 2-by-4. Build up the ground under it with stone or crushed rock. Also check the piping insulation for deterioration. If this insulation is faulty, replace it with new insulation, available at heating supply stores. Installation instructions are usually provided by the manufacturer.

A power interruption is an obvious cause for concern, but you can handle this situation by following the guidelines mentioned in the next section.