A heat pump is a kind of pump that gathers nearby heat and delivers it to the place where it is needed. The technology it uses is very similar to an air conditioner or a refrigerator.
As it does not produce heat on its own, it is much more energy-efficient and cost-saving. Heat pumps require very less electricity and have about 300-400% efficiency rate. But like most appliances, it also has some downsides to it. Heat pump affects water breakers if not treated and maintained in a proper way.
In this article, I am going to discuss everything you need to know about this amazing heat source. So, buckle up and give a good read to the whole piece.
A heat pump extracts heat from any nearby source such as surrounding air, water bodies, or waste heat from a factory. This gathered heat is then amplified and transferred to where it is needed.
Apart from heating your house, the heat pump cycle can be reversed to act like an air conditioner during the summer. Although heat pumps have the same mechanism and technology as air conditioners, they are way better and more budget-friendly.
As they don’t consume a lot of electricity and dehumidify air better than standard ACs, heat pumps will be a great option for you.
In many industrial sectors, heat pumps are used to gather high-temperature input from the waste heat of the industrial process. It is then delivered as hot air, water, or steam to heat materials.
How Does a Heat Pump Work?
Heat pumps work just like an AC but in reverse. While an AC gathers heat from inside a box and then sends it to the surrounding room, an air source heat pump pulls heat from the surrounding and then transfers it to storage.
Heat pump water heaters use electricity to transfer heat from one place to another. They have two to three times higher efficiency than conventional water heaters.
Air source water heater has the ability that combines heating, cooling, and water heating all in one. As they gather heat from the air to transfer it to somewhere else, air source heat pumps work better in warmer climates.
Locations that remain 40-90 degrees Fahrenheit all year round are most suitable for this type of heat pump.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Heat Pumps
Like most other electrical equipment, heat pumps also have some cons along with their pros. In this segment, I’ll be talking in detail about the advantages and disadvantages.
Advantages of Using Heat Pump
1. Better Safety
Heat pumps are safer to operate than any combustion-based heating system. They don’t need to burn any fuel and depend on electricity to function. They are also more environmentally friendly as they don’t burn fuel.
2. Lower Running Costs
The more efficiently a machine works, the more economical it becomes. Heat pumps have a 300-400% efficiency rate so they can help you save a great deal of money. water source heat pumps can even reach efficiency levels close to 600% Although the initial installation cost might be a bit high, you’ll be saving a lot over the years. They are electricity based and are much cheaper to run than systems that rely on combustion.
3. Less Maintenance
Heat pumps don’t require regular checkups from professional mechanics. Some parts of the heat pumps may need maintenance once a year but you can easily do that yourself.
Other than that, call a professional every 3-5 years to perform a thorough checkup and you will be good to go.
4. Reduces Carbon Emissions
Heat pumps are 100% combustion free and do not rely on burning fuel. As a result, they have no carbon emissions and are very eco-friendly.
5. Provides Cooling
A heat pump is like a 2 in 1 temperature control system. They can store and deliver heat where and when it’s needed. But in summer, it also works as an AC.
When the weather gets warmer, they are able to change their heating process and act like an air-conditioning unit. If I might say, they work even better than any air conditioning unit.
6. Long Life-Span
If maintained properly, a heat pump can provide service efficiently for up to 15-20 years. They are extremely reliable and suitable for long-term use.
Disadvantages of Using Heat Pump
1. High Upfront Cost
One of the major cons of this heating unit is that it can be quite expensive. Although their energy efficiency leads to long-term savings on energy bills, the initial cost can be a bit too much for some people.
2. Difficult to Install
Heat pumps can be fairly difficult to install. You need to study nearby heating sources, heat movement paths, local geology, and the heating and cooling requirement of your own house before setting up the unit.
It might be a good idea to take help from the professional setting this up.
3. Issues in Cold Weather
Air source heat pumps face some difficulties during extremely cold weather. It can be exposed to the icing which will reduce the airflow. Newer models of heat pumps come with an automatic defrosting system to avoid this situation.
At very cold temperatures, heat pumps can end up using a lot of electricity. This will also increase the operation cost by a great deal. Ground source heat pumps on the other hand are much more reliable even in cold weather.
4. Requires Significant Work
The installation process of a heat pump can get really messy. You will need to do some modifications in your building and garden to make way for the heat movement.
Penetrations have to be made through the whole building cladding so that the heat can be distributed all over the place.
Read Also: Does a Humidifier Cool a Room
Main Causes Heat Pump Affects Water Breaker
There might be many reasons why your heat pump is affecting the water breaker. The most common reason why heat pumps make water breakers trip are:
Dirty Pump Filters
Dirty air filters of a heat pump can decrease the quality and block the airflow. Dirty pump filters make the pump work harder and longer to provide you with the desired air temperature.
This causes the system to use more power than usual and as a result, it can trip the water breaker. Clean the pump filters regularly and try to change your filters every three months to ensure free airflow.
Low airflow can be caused by dirty pump filters or obstruction in front of the filter opening. If you somehow block or close the indoor vents of your home by placing furniture or any other object in front of it, it can reduce the airflow by a lot.
Just like in the previous case, the heat pump will have to work extra and might end up tripping the water breaker. So, make sure your vent openings are clear, and keep furniture and other objects well away from the opening.
Faulty installation of wiring may be the core reason for your water breaker tripping constantly. Sometimes the wiring comes loose from all the expansion-contraction due to weather effects.
Loose wires cause short circuits in the system and make the breaker trip to avoid any fire hazards. A short circuit will trip the breaker the moment you flip the switch of your unit.
Heat Pump Overheating
Your pump could be overheating when you notice turning it on and off more often than usual. Overworking the pump usually leads to overheating. Dirty or clogged air filters, faulty wiring issues, or other problems could lead to the overheating of the pump.
Overheating possesses a great fire risk. So, to avert such a disaster, the breaker automatically trips when the pump is heated excessively.
If your heat pump is running low on refrigerant, it will not be able to cool the house properly. It will only make the pump work harder and exhaust it. As a result, it will end up tripping the breaker.
If you smell anything funky coming from the heat pump, immediately turn off the circuit breaker and check what’s wrong in there. a burning smell could indicate a short circuit or wiring issue inside. Contact a professional if that’s the case.
Any other musty odor could mean the growth of mold inside your heat pumps. Molds can block the airflow and overwork the pump and make the breaker trip. Molds are also very harmful to health.
So, try to clean it up while it’s still under control.
Preventing Heat Pump Problems
With time you may notice a decrease in your heat pump efficiency. This can be caused by various reasons. The common problems that affect the performance of a heat pump are:
Heat Pump Running Constantly
If you are tired of the heat pump working continuously and producing a sky-high electricity bill, check the heat pump immediately. There is a good possibility that the pump filters are clogged and can’t supply the required airflow.
This is why the pump keeps working harder and longer to achieve the desired temperature. Clean the heat pump filters and coils regularly to avoid this issue. Also, check if the heat pump has enough refrigerant. While you are at it, check the thermostat settings too.
If the thermostat is set at a temperature too high or too low, the heat pump will have to work continuously to achieve the set temperature.
Heat Pump is not Running
If your heat pump is not working, it might be due to a wiring issue or a thermostat problem. First, check if the wiring of the system became loose anywhere. Faulty wiring will not be able to supply power to the heating unit and the pump will not turn on.
If the wiring is okay, check if the thermostat setting is all right. If the thermostat loses power somehow it won’t be able to command the heat pump and as a result, it won’t turn on.
Outdoor Unit is Frozen
During winter, if the outdoor unit gets frozen, the heat pump will stop working. You will need to manually remove the ice to make it work again. If a thick layer of ice comes between the outside air and the outside coil, it will block the heat flow.
If not treated immediately, this could greatly damage the entire system.
Short cycling is when your heat pump keeps turning on and off repeatedly. This can happen due to system overheating, refrigerant leaks, or incorrect unit size.
First, you will need to see if there is any leakage in the refrigerant. If yes, call a professional to seal the leak up. The improper-sized unit makes the heat pumps short cycling. If the unit size is too big, it will achieve the desired temperature in no time and then shut down.
Once the temperature varies again, it will restart and keep doing so. Install a unit that is suitable for your housing size to avoid this problem.
Heat Pump Needs Maintenance
Heat pumps can last for a long time if it’s taken care of properly. The standard lifespan of regular heat pumps is about 15 years. But with proper care and maintenance, you can make them last for up to 20-50 years.
An annual checkup of the unit is a must if you want to make it last a while. You can however do this checkup by yourself. Check if there is anything stuck between the filters and clean them to get enhanced airflow.
Other than this, get a professional installer needs to visit the system every 3 to 5 years. Some maintenance steps that you can take to keep the unit in a better condition are:
- Clean and change the filters once a month or whenever it’s needed.
- Remove foliage from around the outdoor unit.
- Clean outdoor coils when they appear dirty.
- Remove any snow or ice buildup from the heat pump during winter.
- keep the register open.
- During the heating season, set the thermostat level above 65 degrees, and in winter, set it below 70 degrees.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What Size Breaker does a Heat Pump Need?
Which size breaker your heat pump needs mainly depends on the size of the heat pump. To find out the suitable breaker size, check what is printed on the compressor unit.
It will give you information about the maximum circuit breaker size along with the minimum circuit ampacity. Usually, the most commonly available heat pump breaker sizes are 16 amps, 20 amps, and 32 amps.
Do Heat Pumps Use a Lot of Electricity?
Before setting up a heating pump, most people want to know if they consume a lot of electricity. The good news is that it doesn’t. heat pumps are much more energy efficient than any other heating system.
As they don’t actually generate heat, they don’t need much electricity. Heat pumps only gather available heat from any nearby source and then transfer it to any required place. this transferring process requires energy but it’s not that much.
So, a heat pump is an eco-friendly energy-saving alternative for any heating system.
How Long do Heat Pumps Last?
The standard lifespan for any heat pump is 15 years. Some of them can even start to deteriorate after a decade. However, if you maintain them sincerely with care, they can end up lasting for up to 20 years.
But this will require regular checkups by a professional every 3-5 years. You will have to ensure proper cleaning of all the parts of the heating system. Also, check the wire connections from time to time to ensure there’s no possibility of occurring a short circuit.
How Often should You Clean Heat Pump Coils?
Once every 4-12 weeks you must clean the coils of your heat pumps. It mainly depends on how often you use the heat pump. The simplest way to determine if the coils need cleaning is to check them from time to time.
If there is heavy dust and dirt present in the coils, give them a good cleaning. Otherwise, the residue could start building up and eventually clog the pump filters. This will hamper the airflow and make overwork the pump.
Heat pumps are a convenient and energy-efficient way to maintain the desired airflow in your house. It doesn’t require much power and helps you save a lot in the long run. But installing it in your house may be a hassle.
In some states, you’ll even need permission from the authority to set up the heat pumps. So, don’t risk trying to install it on your own. Consult a professional to determine if it will actually be suitable for your house.