During a recent home inspection we discovered that one of the heat pump systems was not heating properly. This particular home had three heat pump systems. One system was for the second floor, another system for the first floor and the third system was for the walk out basement level. Due to the cold outside temperatures these systems were operating in the heating mode.
The second floor and basement systems were heating properly. The temperature differential between the supply and return was 15 degrees for both of these systems. For the first floor system, however, the temperature differential was only 10 degrees. Heat pumps that are functioning properly should have a temperature differential between 15 and 20 degrees from the supply registers to the return air grill. This is true for both heating and cooling modes.
When a heat pump system is not producing the proper temperature differential the solution is usually pretty straight forward. One common reason for a reduced differential is that the system has a low refrigerant charge. Another common issue is that the coil and/or the return air filters are dirty. Sometimes it is a combination of these issues. Be sure the hire a professional HVAC contractor to identify the cause of a low temperature differential along with a proper resolution. It is also a best practice for home owners to have their systems serviced twice per year to be sure that they are operating properly. Regular service can prolong a heating and cooling system’s useful life span.
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