All Articles

Tips on Proper Outdoor Clearance for Your Heat Pump

The technology behind heat pumps has improved substantially over the years, making them more efficient than ever when it comes to working in heating mode. Older heat pumps sometimes faced an uphill battle with keeping a home warm when the outdoor temperature plunges past freezing, but new models can handle extremely cold temperatures without losing energy efficiency.

But a heat pump will still need assistance to see that it does its best job. If you have a heat pump warming your household, make sure that the outdoor cabinet has a clear area around it—otherwise, the heat pump may run into trouble.

Why is clearance so important?

A heat pump operates in heating mode by drawing air into the outdoor cabinet and across a refrigerant coil, where the process of evaporation absorbs heat from the air that the heat pump will transport inside. The fan in the heat pump must have proper air flow to do this job. Obstructions around the cabinet will cut down on air flow and make the heat pump work harder than it should. This will run up bills and also shorten the lifespan of the system. (Keep in mind a heat pump will suffer from the same airflow issues during the summer when it’s in cooling mode.)

How much clearance does the outdoor cabinet need?

You should see that the heat pump has an empty space of about 24 inches on all sides. If you have a professional installation for the system, it should already by far enough away from the sides of the house (although sometimes the foundation block of the cabinet will sink, causing it to tilt toward the house). Make sure there are no plants, fences, or other obstructions in this area. Keep all shrubs carefully trimmed, and clear out leaves and rocks. Also, make sure that snowdrifts do not build up in this area.

Golden Rule Plumbing, Heating & Cooling of Des Moines, IA has the heat pump repair and other services you need for great comfort this winter. We’re a service provider who will treat your home as if it were our own!