It’s important for homeowners to understand the basic workings of the various systems in and around their home. You might not be an electrician, plumber, or HVAC technician, but you can still solve simple problems and make good decisions when you know how things work on your property.
With that in mind, we’d like to take some time to talk about your heat pump condenser. This is a key element in any HVAC system that utilizes a heat pump and it is prominent since it sits out in the open somewhere around your home. If you need help with maintenance or repair on your heat pump or any other piece of HVAC equipment, reach out to Walker Air • Plumbing • Electric right away for assistance.
What is a Heat Pump?
Since there is often some confusion on the topic of heat pumps, we’d like to start with a primer – or refresher – on what a heat pump is and the basics of how it works. Despite the name, this type of HVAC equipment actually does more than produce heat. It does that, but it can also provide cooling power to a space, which makes this an impressively versatile option for different types of buildings.
The name “heat pump” comes from the fact that this piece of equipment is tasked with the job of pumping heat from inside to outside, or vice versa. During the warm months, a heat pump will take heat from inside a building and dump it outside, through the use of refrigerant which can carry that heat. In the winter, a heat pump will collect whatever heat energy is available in the outside air and use it to warm the indoor space.
The Role of the Condenser
Okay – so a heat pump is a useful piece of equipment that can do heating or cooling work for a building. But what does the condenser have to do with how this system operates? The condenser, which lives outside of the building, moves heat from refrigerant into the surrounding air and vice versa, depending on what mode is running. Without a condenser, you would not have a functioning heat pump. Because it lives outside, condensers are built to withstand the elements and will need an open spot to live where the unit is not crowded out by plants, storage, or anything else.
Potential Problems with a Heat Pump Condenser
When everything is working properly, you won’t have to think much about your condenser while the system runs. Sure, you’ll probably hear it humming outside while you are in the house, but that’s about it. Only when an issue comes up will you need to look closer and try to figure out what the issue may be. There are a few potential problems that you can face with a heat pump condenser, including the following –
- Frozen tubing. Take a look at the tubing that is prominently featured in the condenser unit – do you see any signs of ice or frost? This is a relatively common issue and it will alert you to the fact that something is wrong. Unfortunately, simply seeing ice on the outdoor unit isn’t going to tell you precisely what the issue is, so you’ll want to bring in Walker for that diagnosis. Once our team has a chance to review the system and run some tests, we’ll be able to tell you what is going wrong and how it can be fixed.
- No room to breathe. You need to make sure your condenser has the air space around it that is needed to perform properly. If you let weeds or bushes grow up next to the unit and over the top, it will likely run into performance issues sooner rather than later. Likewise, you don’t want to place anything on the top of the unit, as the fan needs to be able to move air over the coils for the system to perform properly. Keep an eye on the conditions around your outdoor unit and make any corrections that might be needed.
- Lack of power. Finally, you’ll want to make sure that there is power running to the condenser if you run into trouble with it not operating. Most likely, you’ll find a box somewhere out near the unit where the power supply can be turned on and off with the flip of a switch. Make sure this switch is in the “On” position, and make sure the breaker in your electrical panel has not been tripped.
You won’t be performing any repairs on your heat pump condenser as an average homeowner, but you can still understand what it does and what could go wrong. If an issue does come up, give us a call at Walker Air • Plumbing • Electric right away to get your system back up and running right away. Thank you for stopping by!