Modern heat pumps are technological marvels and capable of heating and cooling homes with incredible efficiency. It has been calculated that the most energy-efficient heat pumps on the New Zealand market are 500% efficient – that is, they can produce five dollars of heat for every one dollar spent on electricity. It’s an astounding reminder of how cost-efficient modern heat pumps are.
For all that, even the best heat pumps can operate at less than their best from time to time. This is particularly true in winter when issues like these commonly arise:
- The remote is unresponsive. This is probably the most common heat pump issue and it usually has a super easy fix: the batteries in the remote are flat! Batteries should be replaced at least once a year. But if there is a problem with a non-responsive remote, it’s best not to press lots of buttons all at once, as this can confuse things and further delay the start-up of the heat pump. A heat pump can take a little time to kick into life, so instead of pressing every button in sight just give the device some moments to get going. If it doesn’t you may need to call a heat pump professional for a service – but not before replacing the batteries!
- Strange sounds. Even the quietest heat pumps will make almost-silent sounds during operation, and you’ll be well used to these. But on occasion, you’ll hear noises you haven’t heard before and in a modern heat pump, this is a sign that all is not well with the unit. The most common causes of those strange sounds are vents that are shut or loose components within the unit. You can take a quick look at the outside of the heat pump to make sure nothing on the exterior has come loose, like a screw. You can also check the air vents are open and try the heat pump again. The outdoor unit could be looked at as well to see there are no leaves, grass or other items near the vents. That’s about all you can do – poking and prodding too deep into the unit will only cause further damage so if things still don’t sound right after your quick checks, you’ll need to contact a heat pump expert.
- Weak airflow coming from the heat pump. When you switch on your heat pump and it’s delivering air with a whimper, rather than with the power you’re used to, that could be a sign that the air ducts are blocked or the filters need cleaning. Or, it could mean that something is blocking or covering the outdoor unit. It’s relatively easy to clean the filters (check the manufacturer’s instructions) and to remove any obstructions from in front of the exterior unit, but if the problem persists, then it’s a more complex problem that needs a professional touch from a qualified heat pump technician.
- The heat pump only blows cold air. This problem is becoming increasingly rare thanks to the major advances in modern heat pumps which are capable of operating in freezing conditions. However, there are some things that hinder the heating process such as leaves and other vegetation building up around the exterior unit, which makes it more prone to icing up. This is the first thing to check, as there should be a gap of at least one metre between the front of the exterior unit and garden vegetation. Or, dirty filters in the heat pump can also reduce heating efficiency by blocking airflow to the coil that heats the air.
Heat pumps have never been more efficient and reliable than they are today. But they can be prone to common issues. Having said that, this leading supplier and installer of Panasonic heat pumps in Auckland says regular servicing can greatly minimise these problems and allow modern devices to perform at their brilliant best in all seasons.