October 24, 2022

Why You Should Clean Your Heat Pump’s Outdoor Unit After Extreme Winds

When extreme Colorado winds rattle your windows, all that dust they’re kicking up can ruin your heat pump’s efficiency. A poorly working heat pump increases your monthly energy bills and could compromise your family’s comfort. We’ll explain why dusty winds are such a hazard and what you can do about it.

How Does a Heat Pump Work?

 A heat pump doesn’t generate heat like a furnace does. It simply takes heat from the air in one location and transfers it to another. A heat pump is like an A/C that both cools and heats your home. It consists of two units – one inside your home and one outside – that exchange heat between them.

When a heat pump cools your home, it works like your air conditioning by removing heat from your inside air and transferring it outside. When your heat pump heats your home, it works in reverse, taking heat energy from the outside air and transferring it indoors. Even when it’s cold outside, there is still heat energy that your pump can harvest and transfer.

How Dust Lowers Heat Pump Efficiency

Normally, because your heat pump works via heat exchange and doesn’t use fossil fuels, it’s an efficient way to keep your home comfortable. But, when the wind picks up on a dry summer or fall day, all that dust blankets the outdoor unit (the one with the fan), and keeps it from working properly.

Whether it’s heating or cooling, the outdoor unit needs to be clean and clear of obstructions like grass clippings, shrubbery, cobwebs, sticks, fences and ice. If it becomes blocked or corroded it struggles dispersing heat in COOL mode or absorbing heat in HEAT mode. 

When the outdoor unit is dirty, the heat pump has to run longer and harder to get your home to your thermostat setting. Longer running times mean higher utility bills and the loss of those valuable energy savings

How to Clean a Heat Pump

The best way to get your outdoor heat pump unit cleaned and ensure that it works properly for years is by calling a professional to do a complete systems check. Have this maintenance done at least once a year and more frequently when Colorado winds whip up. 

Why shouldn’t you clean your heat pump yourself?

Your heat pump system has delicate moving parts and precision electronic components. When servicing it, you need to turn off power to the system and clean the fan, coils and filters gently but thoroughly. 

The wrong approach could damage your system and add to the problem. For example, spraying the outdoor unit with a high water pressure hose could accidentally bend the delicate fan fins that direct air over the outdoor unit’s condenser coil (the part that’s absorbing or dumping heat outside). When those fins are bent, you’ll have the same problem as a dust-filled unit. Talk about counterproductive.

The Benefits of a Clean Heat Pump

A technician cleans a home heat pump.

The coils in your heat pump’s indoor and outdoor units either evaporate or condense air to cool or heat. When those coils become dirty, it can reduce their cooling ability by 40% and smack their efficiency by 60%. Keeping your system in good working order is crucial to its efficiency and longevity. Here are the full benefits of cleaning the condenser coils and other parts:

  • Maximum heat transfer
  • Better indoor comfort
  • Longer system lifespan
  • Better air quality
  • More responsive

Expert Heat Pump Installation, Repair and Service

Keep your home comfortable all year with reliable heat pump repair and service from Applewood. We suggest that our neighbors in Denver, Boulder and Longmont  have a professional clean their heat pump’s outside unit at least once a year. And when your home is affected by high wind storms, contact us and make an appointment, 303-785-2000. We’ll make sure your unit is clean and efficient.

Call  303-328-3060

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