technicain servicing a heat pump

Summer has arrived!

And that means you will have many celebrations and a lot of meeting up with whanau and friends. Summer also comes with hot days and sticky nights that may destroy all the fun, but keeping our home cool and comfortable at a higher temperature can be difficult for many of us.

Your heat pump will have a serious workout this summer since the forecast has predicted an above-average temperature hit. So, one task you shouldn’t put off is to maintain your heat pumps to ensure it runs smoothly all summer long.

Just like cars, heat pumps should be maintained regularly

Before the new season begins, your heat pump unit may require some maintenance after heating your home during the colder winter months. There are some recommended maintenance tasks to ensure your heat pump works at its best. 

If your heat pump is still under warranty, a technician can service it once a year. You can, however, perform some maintenance tasks on your own.

Cleaning your heat pump’s surrounding area frequently

In the spring months and some wet days of season transition, weeds and debris can grow up and cover your heat pump unit. It’s time to check and clean up that area. Growing weeds that cover the exterior of your heat pump may affect its performance. In the worst situation, weeds can reach inside and heavily damage the fan wheel and the engine.

Check the heat pump filters

The heat pump’s filters help clean the air from the outdoors and pour fresh air into the house. Therefore, cleaning filters once or twice a month can give you cleaner air and keep the indoor unit working at its best. This task doesn’t require a technician. You can simply remove filters from the front of the unit and wash off the dirt and dust using cool water.

Lubricate heat pump’s fan motors

Fan motors are crucial for the heat pump as they keep the airflow between the outdoor and indoors of your house. If not taken care of, they might reduce the efficiency of the heat pumps, use more power to cool down the indoor temperature and make an annoying noise. However, these motors are only required to be lubricated once or twice a year. You can oil them yourself or get a technician to do it.

Clean heat pump’s covers

Dust and dirt on covers also affect the efficiency of the heat pump and the freshness of the air. Your heat pump’s covers should be cleaned once every 3 months because the heat pump unit stays outside of the house and takes in lots of dust.

Remove obstructions around heat pump unit

We recommend that every obstruction be kept at least 20 inches from all sides of the heat pump unit. The reason is you want to prevent your heat pump from being overworked and heating up. A reasonable space around the unit can help reduce your heat pump heats up. Moreover, it is easier for whoever to check up or maintain the heat pump.

Flush and test indoor condensate line & pan

This task is extremely important as mould, algae, and fungi can block the condensate line after a period of use. You can pour a cup of vinegar down the drain line every couple of months or after each season. Lots of dirt and dust will get stuck on the condensate pan; therefore, you can use soap or bleach to wipe it off.

Get a trained technician to evaluate the condition

Even if your heat pump is under warranty, we suggest you organise a full service annually with our trained or experienced technicians. McClelland’s technician will do a complete quality check-up, maintenance and give you advice on how to keep your heat pumps healthy. 

Some tips when using heat pumps

Maintaining your heat pumps frequently can keep them running at their best. But knowing some tips while using heat pumps can help you save thousands of dollars during the summer and expand your heat pump’s lifespan.

Desired Temperature

Many people have a terrible habit of turning on an air conditioner at the lowest temperature possible (16 – 18 degrees) after a long day outdoors. Sound like you? Then, you are killing your heat pump and damaging your personal wallet.

Imagine the outdoor temperature is 80 degrees, and you force the heat pump to make it down to 60 degrees. Your heat pump must run at its maximum capacity to meet the required temperature. In the long run, it may break down at some point. Knowing the limit can help keep the heat pump healthy and run efficiently.

  • The maximum temperature set-up should be 5 degrees below or above the outdoor temperature.
  • Set your heat pump at one temperature. Constant adjusting of the temperature can cause higher utility costs.
  • During summer, try to set the temperature above 65 degrees. 
  • In cooling mode, try not to set the temperature below 70 degrees to prevent indoor coil freezing.

Frequency of use 

Unlike fridges, heat pumps cannot work 24/7. Keeping the thermostat running all day to keep cool indoors causes higher electricity bills and damages the heat pump’s efficiency. Therefore, you should use your heat pumps as a setback type. If necessary, you can limit the setbacks to twice a day: when you are at work and during the nighttime. 

Limiting the frequency of use and the amount of time you use can keep your heat pump from being overworked. Besides, it helps you reduce the power costs.

Outdoor unit positioning

Outdoor unit positioning can affect the performance of your heat pump

A heat pump has an outdoor unit and an indoor unit to transfer air outside into the house. The heat pump’s outdoor unit receives less attention, but it is the main part of keeping it running. This part must be well-positioned to perform its best. And, here are some tips about positioning and its surroundings.

  • After heavy rain and storm, make sure to check up on the heat pump unit. Any damage can affect the performance of the heat pump.
  • If you want to check inside the heat pump, remember to cut off the electricity.
  • Do not place the outdoor unit underneath a leaking gutter. Water Drops may cause electricity explosions.
  • The heat pump’s outdoor unit should be higher up about 10 inches from the ground level to allow proper drainage.

Start some habits

Some good habits can help you save lots of money and keep your family safe while using a heat pump this summer. 

  • Turn off the air conditioner 10 minutes before you leave the room. You will still enjoy the cool in your room and never forget to turn off the AC.
  • Never set the temperature at minimum or maximum degrees.
  • Reduce the time of switching your heat pump on and off.
  • Check and clean the indoor unit’s filters once every two weeks.
  • Do your grass. Make sure no grass can reach the outdoor unit.
  • Turn off power every time you check on your heat pump unit.


Purchasing a good quality heat pump is essential for keeping your house cool this summer, while well-maintenance can help it run smoothly and extend its life cycle. Following the above tips and instructions, you will save a lot of money on power costs and still be able to keep your home at the desired temperature.