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Dalton Plumbing, Heating, Cooling, Electric and Fireplaces, Inc. Blog

Busting a Common Heat Pump Myth


Heat pumps operate much like central air conditioners in that they have a refrigerant process that transfers heat. While other heaters generate heat, the refrigerant process makes a heat pump much more efficient as a heat source.

However, there is one myth that homeowners commonly believe that could be costing you more money than necessary if you believe it too. What is that myth?

That refrigerant needs to be refilled–what those of us in the industry call recharged–on a regular basis. This just isn’t true! Your heat pump is supplied with enough refrigerant during manufacturing to last its entire lifespan, and if your system is losing refrigerant, it means there is a leak. Read on to learn more about this problem!

Refrigerant Shouldn’t need to Be Added to Your Heat Pump!

Honest and trustworthy HVAC professionals will never tell you that a heat pump or air conditioner’s refrigerant needs to be “topped off.” As we alluded to above, refrigerant doesn’t deplete. It does not get “used up” as fuel does. A heat pump is designed to use the same level, or charge, of refrigerant throughout its entire lifespan.

Refrigerant is not a fuel source like gasoline or the electricity that your heat pump needs to operate. Refrigerant circulates through a closed-loop, evaporating and then condensing, and never dissipating.

So, why do dishonest “professionals” tell you that refrigerant has to be refilled? It’s probably because, as we mentioned above, you have a leak that needs to be repaired. The thing is, once the leak is patched up, you’ll never have this problem again (unless of course the refrigerant line springs a leak somewhere else, but this isn’t likely with our team on the case!)

That said, if your heat pump is aging (10-15 years old), then there is a chance that the refrigerant lines have degraded, and you could be more likely to experience leaks. If this is the case, then it’s a good idea to talk to our professionals about upgrading your heat pump soon.

Avoiding Compressor Damage

You want to repair any refrigerant leaks in your heat pump right away to avoid compressor damage. The compressor is basically the heart of an air conditioner or heat pump system and is the most expensive component of the system. If the compressor fails, in most cases it actually makes more financial sense to replace the entire heat pump.

The only time this isn’t the case is if your heat pump is still under manufacturer warranty, and you’ve had professional maintenance done twice a year for the system. If this is the case, then you won’t be financially liable for the compressor, just the labor it takes to repair or replace this component.

As for that professional maintenance we just mentioned, this is the best way to prevent refrigerant leaks, and any other problems that might afflict your heat pump system. Be sure to call and get this scheduled today if it’s been more than 6 months since your last maintenance session!

At Dalton Plumbing, Heating, Cooling, Electric and Fireplaces, Inc., your comfort is our promise! To set up an appointment in the Cedar Rapids area, give us a call at the number above, email or schedule an appointment online for professional heat pump services.

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