A heat pump is an efficient heating and cooling system. It can change the flow of refrigerant depending on whether you want to heat or cool your living space. This comes in handy during hot, humid summers, as well as the cold, frosty months of the year. However, even the highest-quality unit can potentially develop leaks over time. It’s crucial to understand the common reasons behind such an occurrence and what you can do to resolve them. Expert HVAC company All Weather Heating & Air Conditioning discusses more here.
How a Heat Pump Works
A heat pump has a component called a reversing valve which is responsible for changing the refrigerant flow by blowing air over an evaporator coil and transporting heat energy from the air to the refrigerant. The same heat energy is circulated in the refrigerant to a condenser coil. Finally, the heat is released in the condenser coil as a fan blows across it. This process allows heat to be transferred either into or out of your home.
Is a Heat Pump Leak an Urgent Problem?
Fortunately, a leak in a heat pump device isn’t something that should cause great alarm. However, it does need to be addressed by a technician before it causes bigger headaches. Once you suspect that there’s a leak, the best step you can take is to contact a professional and ask them to visit your home to properly assess the issue. Ignoring a leaking heat pump for a prolonged period of time can lead to water-related damage such as a mold infestation in your home. Moreover, having stagnant water within your system can prematurely wear out components and cause electrical problems. Repairing a short-circuited unit will cost you a lot more than simply repairing a minor leak, so don’t forget to include it on the heat pump and furnace inspection checklist for your annual HVAC maintenance visit.
One of the key functions of a heat pump is to drain away excess moisture. The water that results from condensation is designed to collect in the condensate pan, then travel down a drain line to be carried away from your heating unit. However, if your unit becomes clogged with debris or mold, it may overflow and create a messy puddle around your pump instead of sending moisture through the drain line. Similarly, if the condensate pan is set improperly, the water will run over and inevitably cause a leak.
It’s fairly easy to inspect the condensate pan on your own to see if there’s any physical debris causing a blockage. Checking for mold or algae, on the other hand, is more complicated, and it will require a professional to do this accurately. You can resolve this issue by calling in a heat pump maintenance specialist so they can remove the substances causing the clog. This will effectively bring your pump back to good working condition, allowing it to drain properly to prevent leaks in the future.
Condensation from the indoor air is collected by the cold evaporator coil in your heat pump and drained down into a pan which leads to another drain. If this coil gets caked with dirt and dust, it can become faulty and cease to function, causing the water to drip and pool on the ground. Similar to the importance of changing air filters in the home, you need to make sure that your coils are regularly cleaned to prevent the accumulation of dirt and dust.
Cleaning evaporator and condenser coils isn’t a simple task. First, the coil needs to be thoroughly wiped down with a specific cleaner or a mixture of soap and water. You’ll also need a hose to wash it from the outside, making sure that you hit the fins head on. If you want to achieve squeaky-clean results, call in a local HVAC company so they can send trained technicians who have the necessary knowledge and appropriate equipment to your home.
Cracked Overflow Pan
A heat pump draws excess moisture out of indoor air as a part of its cooling process, similar to an air conditioning system. The humidity collects on the coils and travels down into the drain or overflow pan. However, the overflow pan may start to show signs of rust or corrosion over time, which can easily lead to cracking. A cracked pan will allow water to seep through and leak out of your unit. This often results in a large amount of water pooling on your floors. This is dangerous because a wet floor poses a slipping hazard to you and your family, potentially rendering your home a less safe space in which to be.
In addition, the presence of leaks reduces the efficiency of your heat pump, making your interior less warm and cozy during chilly winters and less cool during humid summer months. Make sure to keep a heat pump and furnace inspection checklist handy. After all, nobody wants to find themselves trying to fix an issue when it is already too late and their families are either sweating profusely or freezing in the middle of the day.
Frozen Evaporator Coils
A common issue that professionals encounter when a heat pump is leaking is frozen evaporator coils. If the refrigerant levels of your heat pump drop lower than is required, ice can form and build up on the evaporator coils. This can impair the efficiency and performance of your system as it attempts to cool your interior space during the dog days of summer. However, the ice often melts once you turn off your unit, causing your heat pump to exhibit a leak.
If this occurs, your heat pump likely has a refrigerant leak. Keep in mind that it can be hazardous for homeowners to recharge their own refrigerant. It’s best to schedule a heat pump repair service with a local HVAC specialist who can regulate the refrigerant levels of your heat pump in a timely and efficient manner.
Preventing Leaks in Your Heat Pump
Ask any HVAC professional and they’ll tell you that identifying and addressing potential problems ahead of time is the most effective way to prevent leaks, along with other common issues, in your heat pump unit. It’s highly important to schedule annual or semi-annual inspections of your heating and cooling systems in order to prevent damages, which can be either minor or severe.
There are many consequences to a leaking heat pump. It can make your home uncomfortable and less inviting to your friends, relatives and neighbors. It may also initiate some structural and cosmetic issues that can affect your interior furniture and personal belongings and reduce the performance of your unit. A leak is also a potential source of wasted energy which can force your heat pump to work harder in order to produce the same amount of heating or cooling. Fortunately, hiring a reputable company to take care of necessary heat pump maintenance procedures will significantly increase the efficiency of your unit as well as lower your energy costs.
Contact Us for Heat Pump Repair & Installation Today
Breathe new life into your home with a quality heat pump upgrade. All Weather Heating & Air Conditioning is a premier source of heating and air conditioning solutions in and around Vacaville, CA. Our team of highly-rated technicians can expertly meet your needs, from tune-ups and safety checks to repair and replacement.
We understand the purpose of your heat pump device, as well as the importance of changing air filters in the home, which is why we’ll work diligently to provide you with exceptional service from start to finish. Call us at (707) 447-9855 or fill out our contact form to set up an appointment.