Five Top Tips to help look after your Heat Pump
Five Top Tips to help look after your Heat Pump

Just like any other heating appliance, air source heat pumps need to be correctly maintained to help the unit and the heating system operate as efficiently and effectively as possible. We have selected five useful pointers for looking after an air source heat pump so if your home heating is delivered by a Grant heat pump, please read on.

Top Tip #1 Keep the air inlet and outlet grills clear
It is essential that your air source heat pump has an unobstructed flow of air running through it as this allows the heat pump to extract the heat needed to keep your home warm. If this air flow is restricted, it can limit the output of the heat pump and reduce the performance of your heating system.

Regularly checking your heat pump is an important thing to do. This is particularly necessary during the autumn and winter months when you need your heat pump most. Ensure that any obstructions, such as a build-up of leaves or snow which will affect the heat pump’s operation, are removed. Also, please do not stack items against your heat pump, for example bikes or fold-up garden furniture, as this could also restrict the airflow and affect the heat pump operation.

Top Tip #2 Get your air source heat pump regularly serviced
An air source heat pump should be serviced annually. This is usually a requirement for maintaining the appliance’s guarantee and regular servicing is also necessary if you are claiming the Government’s RHI payments for your renewable heating.

A service not only involves checking the general condition of the heat pump, flexible hoses, pipe insulation and controller settings but also cleaning the evaporator fins and removing any obstructions to the air flow. During the service, the heating system will also be checked including the system pressure and heating control settings to maintain reliable and effective operation.

If your property is located within two miles of the sea, your heat pump may need additional treatment during the service. The evaporator within your heat pump may have been treated (at the point of installation) with ACF50 to protect it from the marine environment. Alternatively, you may have a Grant Aerona³ heat pump which was pre-treated with Blygold protection on the evaporator fins and tubes. In either case, it is important that the evaporator is correctly cleaned and, in the case of the ACF50, the coating is re-applied following cleaning. (You can read more in depth information about Blygold treatment in our Professionals’ Blog here).

Your heat pump can either be serviced by the company who installed it, a suitably qualified independent service engineer or you can contact our ServicePlan Team who can arrange for one of Grant UK’s own in-house engineers to service your appliance.

Top Tip #3 Monitor your system’s water pressure
All of Grant’s Aerona³ air source heat pumps must be used as part of a sealed heating system so it is important to regularly check the system pressure on the pressure gauge. This gauge will be found somewhere on the system, often on the manifold to which the expansion vessel is connected (your installer should have told you where this is). It is recommended to check the pressure when the system is cold and it should be around 0.7bar for a bungalow or around 1.2 bar for a two-storey house.

You can top up the system pressure if it has dropped below the desired level. This can be done using the filling link which will be located somewhere on the system and, again, is often connected to the manifold to which the expansion vessel is connected. If you find that you are having to regularly top up your system pressure, this may indicate a leak which will need to be investigated and dealt with so please contact your installer or service engineer for assistance.

Top Tip #4 Avoid problems with the system water
It is important with all heating systems to make sure the system water is appropriately treated to prevent corrosion within the pipework and the radiators fitted to the system. If corrosion is able to build up within the system water, this can lead to a variety of issues including blockages in the heat pump, pipes, valves and radiators as well as radiator leaks which can all cause a reduction in the heat output of your system.

Fitting a magnetic filter in the system pipework, such as the Grant MagOne, can greatly reduce the amount of debris within your system and this can help reduce the likelihood of blockages causing future problems. Power flushing your system can also help to maintain the quality of your system water.

As heat pump systems operate at lower water temperatures that those with boilers, the use of a biocide is also recommended to prevent biological growth within the system pipework that may cause restrictions or blockages. Usually, your installer will have put a suitable additive(s) in the system to not only protect against corrosion and biological growth, but also to give anti-freeze protection to the heat pump during cold weather.

Top Tip #5 Ensure your controls are correctly set
Your heat pump and heating system will be able to perform at their best if the controls are used correctly. Heat pump systems are not usually designed to heat your home and heat your hot water at the same time so the controls fitted by your installer will usually involve a simple two-channel programmer. This programmer will then control when your heat pump is working to provide space heating and when it is working to heat your hot water. It is therefore important to check that this programmer is set correctly to control your system in accordance with your needs and demand. Some control systems allow your heat pump to switch automatically from heating to hot water provision as and when required, so please speak to your installer to discuss these so-called ‘hot water priority’ controls further.

You can also achieve your perfect room temperatures by using room thermostats as well as using TRVs (thermostatic radiator valves) which should be fitted to all or most of your radiators. TRVs allow the temperature within an individual room to be set to a preferred level and, with minor adjustments, allow you to set your optimum room temperatures throughout your home. It is important to remember, however, that TRVs should not be used as an on/off switch for each radiator – once you have achieved your desired room temperatures, leave the TRVs alone.

Please be aware that, although your radiators may feel cool to the touch, this is not something to worry about. Your Grant heat pump is designed to work at lower operating temperatures than traditional gas or oil-fired boilers. Your radiators will feel cooler but this will not be a problem for heating your house as they should have been correctly sized to provide the required heat output at the lower temperature.

Finally, please do not tempted to tamper with the heat pump controller settings, such as the water flow temperatures, to try and raise the temperature of your radiators. The controller should be left as set by the installer to ensure that the system operates correctly. To echo what we mention in the ‘Top Tips’ blog for oil boilers, use the room thermostat, TRVs and other user control systems to manage your room temperatures. This will help maintain the desired comfort levels of heating within your home while also helping your heat pump to operate as efficiently as possible.

Five Top Tips to help look after your Heat Pump
Helen Rishworth
Assistant Marketing Manager at Grant UK