Exploring New Home Construction

5 Ways Novice Contractors Can Ensure Clients' Heat Pumps Run Efficiently

As a novice general contractor, it is wise to perfect your ability to select and install heat pumps that create a truly efficient heating and cooling system for your clients. You must master the preparation and installation process to make the most of these unique temperature control devices. Without your expertise, the heat pump may never reach its full potential during the dead of winter or middle of summer. Here are five surefire ways to ensure your clients' heat pumps always run efficiently.

Install Ample Building Insulation

The heat pump can only exceed expectations after you use insulation to minimize as much heat loss as possible. Before sourcing and installing the pump, you must go around the building, looking for common heat transfer points.

Check the caulk and weather stripping around the windows and doorways, including the garage door, during your first trip around the building. Inspect the attic and basement areas to verify the presence of high quality insulation materials, such as spray foam or fiberglass. Ask homeowners about any obvious drafts or excessive temperature fluctuations in certain areas of the house to finish the inspection process.

Calculate Specific Heat Load

Heat pumps come in a wide range of sizes and power ratings to suit buildings large and small. Picking the wrong pump size causes a ton of problems from excessive compressor wear to increased operating costs. Therefore, you will need to calculate the heat load for the building to find a pump size that will create the perfect temperature conditions.

Although you can tally up the calculations manually using region information, that method does not account for variables, such as insulation quality and building layout. For precise numbers, input the location, room type, insulation material, external wall count, window sizes and total area in an automated heat pump sizing calculator.   

Find Blower Mounting Point

You will need to carefully identify the airflow pattern throughout the building to find the right blower mounting point for your clients. The position of the windows and doors often controls how the air flows in and out of the room.

Have an assistant open and close the nearest door to feel the air pattern flowing around you. If the air feels fairly stagnant, you should select a ceiling mounted unit. If the air flows rapidly from the doorway to the wall and back again, a low wall mounted unit might be best for that dwelling.

Identify Ideal Pump Location

After finding an ideal blower mounting point, you must decide where to place the heat pump unit. Outdoor units work best when they are placed in an area that receives full sunlight in the cold months. Your clients should have the ability to shade the device in the summer to increase its cooling capabilities.

The pump must sit in an area protected by the wind to keep the compressor fan from spinning backwards and damaging the motor. The soil around the installation point should allow good drainage of the water condensation collected by the pumping unit. Avoid installing the unit by windows and entry points to prevent disturbances to the homeowners and their neighbors, especially at night.

Focus On Quality Pipe Work

Without quality pipe work, the heat pump components cannot perform the task of delivering temperature controlled air into the dwelling. The pipes deliver airflow while actively removing moisture from the air.

You must carefully run the pipes to keep bends to a bare minimum. Furthermore, the pipes must have a slight slope as the lines approach the compressor to keep oil from moving away from the pump's rapidly moving parts. Always wrap insulation around the bare pipes after performing the install to reduce unnecessary temperature fluctuations that reduce the efficiency of the heat pump unit.

After taking the above areas into consideration, you can rest assured that your heat pump install will exceed client expectations all throughout the year. Go even further by setting up a regular maintenance schedule with your clients to protect the pump's components from excessive wear and premature failure. In most cases, you will need to come back at least once a year to change the filter, replace the oil and perform a thorough inspection.