Should I Repair or Replace my Heat Pump?
TechXpert verified by Ken Kontra
A heat pump can last for more than 15 years if maintained and treated properly. However, like most home systems, it can hit a few bumps in the road and eventually need to be replaced. But before shelling out for a replacement, there are ways to check if a simple repair is the way to go.
Giving Your Heat Pump a Second Chance
Even your home appliances deserve a second chance. You’ll want to consider what minor repairs are worth fixing before making the heated decision to replace your system entirely.
There are several reasons to choose a repair over a replacement for your heat pump. For one, if your heat pump begins to make noise, it’s likely telling you something needs a quick fix. Another sign your heat pump could use a repair is if the heat comes and goes in short cycles, rather than providing consistent airflow.
If you have consistent airflow, but notice low levels of heat, this could be an indication of a refrigerant leak or an issue with the compressor. Your heat pump also consumes a lot of energy, and if something is wrong with it, you’ll notice a steep rise in your energy bill.
Your thermostat can also tell you why your utility bill is rising. Auxiliary heat costs more, so if it's running consistently throughout the day, it may also be running you into trouble. Your thermostat is likely telling you that something is wrong with your heat pump system. This goes for both electric and gas back-up (auxiliary) heat.
If you can still remember what year you bought your heat pump, simple repairs are probably justified. Replacing an air filter or straightening colis are reasonable fixes, whereas having to replace a compressor may be going a step too far.
Repairs are recommended if and when your heat pump:
Is less than 10 years old
Has a system warranty
Hasn't already been repaired
Of course, price plays a role, too. When the costs to repair are minor, it makes sense to go that route instead of opting for the more expensive option. When costs begin adding up – or repairs become consistent – it may be time to replace.
Out With the Old and in With the New
When second chances turn into three or four, it’s time to let go.
Consider a heat pump replacement when your minor repairs turn into major repairs. With age, your heat pump loses efficiency, as does its major components: the compressor, condenser coil, reversing valve, TXV, and evaporator coil.
Besides continuous unusual noises, uneven heat distribution, and an increase in your energy bill, if any of the major components mentioned above are in need of repair, you might be better off replacing the system entirely — after all, repairing one of these parts won’t necessarily prevent the malfunctioning of another, especially if your heat pump is over 10 years old.
It’s safe to say your heat pump should be replaced if and when:
Your heat pump has reached old age (typically 10 to 15 years)
Major parts are in need of replacement
The heat pump makes unusual noises
Heat is uneven throughout your home
Energy bills are too hot to handle
Time to Pull the Plug
Goodbyes are tough. However, replacing your heat pump can save you time and money once you’ve given it a second chance.
Once you’ve made the decision to pull the plug on your heat pump, it’s time to call a reliable HVAC professional that can ensure your heat pump installation is a success. Installing your own heat pump can cost you time, energy, and money, especially if you are unfamiliar with the process of installation and its required equipment. Therefore, hiring a technician is a safe bet to ensure your heat pump is installed efficiently and correctly.
Depending on your new heat pump, you may need to install a new thermostat to match the system properly. After that’s sorted out, an HVAC technician will ensure that all parts of your new heat pump are in place and running smoothly.
Your new installation will meet all the heating and cooling needs your previous model wasn’t able to. Although there’s a cost involved, you’ll be thanking yourself down the line for all the time and money saved.
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