Live in an Older Home? Watch Out for These 6 Heat Pump Issues.

A heat pump adds incredible efficiency, even in less modern La Grange, KY homes. However, like any other HVAC system, it may experience issues. Watch out for these six common issues you may experience with a heat pump in an older home.

1. Only One Zone

One common feature of older homes is having one central thermostat that controls the entire system. The problem with this approach is that areas away from that thermostat may need more or less heating or cooling.

Multiple thermostats and duct dampers control multiple HVAC zones. This helps direct conditioned air to the areas that require it most without closing vents and interrupting circulation.

This helps you save some money on your utility expenses, not to mention it keeps your home more comfortable. Additionally, you’ll be able to set differing temperatures if you have different needs in the different zones.

2. Older Thermostat

Depending on the age of your heat pump, you may have separate thermostats for your heat pump and your furnace. This would signify an outdated thermostat, which will have less sensitivity than a newer model.

With an older dual-thermostat system, you’re left attempting to manage two systems so that the backup heat is ready. An unfortunate reality of this system is that you may end up running both systems, possibly removing any efficiency improvement. Modern thermostats can manage both seamlessly, automatically kicking on the backup heat when required.

3. Outdated Heat Pump System

Along with older thermostats, you may also have an outdated system. Heat pumps generally have a service life of 10 to 15 years when properly maintained. If your system is older than 10 years, you may start suffering from increased energy bills and repairs.

Heat pump components wear out over time, needing repairs and replacement. These components may include the compressor, the condensing capacitor and the fan motors, to name a few.

Additionally, as the components wear, they slowly lose efficiency. Even one component working sub-optimally will reduce the system’s efficiency, costing you in your utility bills.

4. Bad Airflow

Older homes notoriously have poor air circulation throughout the house and the HVAC system. Poor system design may account for part of this, especially in homes built in or before the early 20th century. The number and placement of vents does not create the proper pressure difference to circulate air.

In addition to poor design, aging can restrict airflow in the ducts themselves due to collected contaminants. Further, aging systems may not draw as much air due to a wearing circulating fan. The best way to improve airflow is to clean and seal your ducts and then have professional routine maintenance.

5. Damaged Ductwork

Older homes notoriously have leaky ductwork. This happens naturally as the ducts expand and contract with temperature changes. The ducts also vibrate as the air moves through them, sometimes causing leaks at the mounting straps.

When your ducts leak, the air you’ve paid to heat or cool escapes into unintended areas. This leads to longer cycles, increasing utility consumption, additional system wear and more frequent furnace and AC repairs.

6. Lacking Air Quality

Building materials break down over time, especially old lath and plaster construction. It’s common for older homes to have more issues with dust than newer homes because of this degradation.

Additionally, older homes may have a backup of dust and dirt in the HVAC system. This can be within the ducts or in the HVAC system at the circulating fan, heat exchanger or evaporator coil.

As the air circulates through your home and system, it picks up these particles and begins circulating them. The more particles that circulate, the lower your air quality becomes. This negatively impacts your health, but it also adds strain to your system as these particles settle back into your system.

Keep your heat pump working efficiently, even in an older home. Call to schedule a consultation with one of our indoor air quality specialists at Birkhead Co today.

Image provided by iStock

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