Heat Pump Service Contracts

Heat Pump Service Contracts

PostBy: Millworker On: Sat Mar 07, 2009 10:19 am

What do you think of the service contracts you can purchase on an annual basis for heat pumps? What do you actually get for this service and do you think it's a junk fee? From my experience the service contract covers a twice a year check-up(Heat/AC sides). They replace the air filter, clean out the condensation lines and "tune up" the system. I can change my own filter, and clean out the condensation lines. What exactly is the "tune-up?"

This is in reference to my other tirade: Heating and Cooling Options for a 1850's farmhouse
Stove/Furnace Make: Startford
Stove/Furnace Model: SC100

Re: Heat Pump Service Contracts

PostBy: rberq On: Sat Mar 07, 2009 11:21 am

Lot's of oil burner contracts, around here, include an insurance component, where the company does the routine servicing AND replaces parts that fail for no charge. Of course you pay extra for the "insurance" though they don't call it that. Maybe the same with a heat pump?
Hand Fed Coal Stove: DS Machine 1300 with hopper
Coal Size/Type: Blaschak Anthracite Nut
Other Heating: Oil hot water radiators, propane

Re: Heat Pump Service Contracts

PostBy: coalkirk On: Sat Mar 07, 2009 12:19 pm

They would install gauges to check freon levels, check temperature differentials, check operation of auxiliary and emergency heat and the oepration of the reversing valve. They should also clean the the coils in the air handler and condensing unit. I would be there while it's being done and make sure all those items get done. I've seen systems "just serviced" with enough crap on the coils to make a sweater.
Stoker Coal Boiler: 1981 EFM DF520
Coal Size/Type: anthracite/rice coal

Re: Heat Pump Service Contracts

PostBy: Yanche On: Sat Mar 07, 2009 2:14 pm

On a properly installed A/C system there is no need to check the refrigerant. I fact doing so is detrimental to the long life of the compressor. Each time the access valve is opened contamination and/or moisture will get in. Do it enough times and/or not carefully leads to problems. If you have an A/C system that constantly needs re-charging it has a leak. The leak can always be found, but frequently the service company just sells you a new compressor or entire unit.

A proper cleaning of the evaporator and condensing coil requires chemicals not normally available to the public. Since they require special use and care many service techs avoid using them. You then just get a cursory cleaning that you could do yourself. I know of one large local A/C company that has a policy of sending least experienced new guys on service contract annual cleaning calls. Like with all service the skills and work ethic of the technician makes a big difference. It's almost impossible for the home owner to know which company is a good one. Usually local consumer surveys can identify the worst of the lot.

You should not cover your outdoor A/C unit in the off season. It needs to have air flow so rusting of components is controlled.
Stoker Coal Boiler: Alternate Heating Systems S-130
Coal Size/Type: Anthracite Pea

Re: Heat Pump Service Contracts

PostBy: dtzackus On: Fri Oct 02, 2009 11:52 am

I have a heat pump system at our house, now that we burn coal, I do not use the electric heat side of the unit. I just use the a/c side. Even prior, I would call the guy who installed in the spring to check it out, he has yet to have to fill anything as of yet. As far as the air filters, I change my each month, except in the months that I do not use (Nov-May), they filters state 90 days, but look at them after 30 days and you will agree that 30 days is just about right.

Hand Fed Coal Stove: Gibraltar LCC
Stove/Furnace Make: Gibraltar
Stove/Furnace Model: LCC