Just like many home heating systems, renewable heating solutions like air and ground source heat pumps require regular service and maintenance checks to keep them up and running. This level of attention to your system will ensure you prolong its life and get the maximum benefit.
It’s important to remember that most manufacturer’s warranties are only upheld if you’re keeping your unit regularly maintained – so a lapse in this can cause real problems if you encounter any faults.
What gets checked during a service?
On both air and ground source heat pumps, the services are similar and cover the unit itself, any related pipework and the temperature/timer controls that have been installed.
For ground source heat pumps (GSHPs), the extensive pipework usually covers a large expanse and counts for over 50% of the installation. Checking these for leaks and ensuring there are no air locks is often the first steps in an annual servicing. These pipes are used to circulate anti-freeze around the system, which doesn’t need much maintenance – your service engineer will perform a test on the fluid to ensure the biocides within it are at the correct levels, and perform a top up or replacement if required.
The only moving parts with a GSHP are the compressor (which is hermetically seals and a non-maintainable device) and the water pump. A visual checking whilst the system is up and running can rule out any issues with the pump and ensure everything is working as required.
Finally, the electronics. Ideally, these should be checked before the heating season starts (typically, mid-Autumn) as they are the life of the unit and will control and communicate the homeowners heat demands.
For air source heat pumps (ASHPs), checking the pressure of the system and ensuring valves are operating as they should, is the focus of a service. This system also uses anti-freeze, and an engineer will test to see whether a top up is required.
Within an ASHP are filters, which should be checked and cleaned regularly to prevent any dust build up – this can also be coupled with checking the large fan fins, which make up most the unit and can attract dust from the air they’re extracting.
Just like GSHPs, air source heat pumps also rely on the electronics of their systems to ensure they’re performing as required by the homeowner. Service engineers can give a refresher demonstration on how to operate the system at each visit if required, and tinker with the more complex temperature settings on the unit to suit the customer requirements.
Prevent disruption with regular checks
In between service visits, you should perform regular visual checks of your boiler – after a while you will become more in tune with its operation and will be quicker to spot if anything is wrong.
For peace of mind, get your servicing done by experienced and knowledgeable heat pump engineers.