The life expectancy of heat pumps is important before you decide to invest in them. The lifespan of a heat pump will significantly affect the overall savings from an investment point of view in a heat pump installation.
To those who are unaware of what a heat pump is
A heat pump is a device that maintains temperature i.e by heating or cooling. Its function is to transfer heat from one area to another. When it is warm, it diverts the heat from inside to outside. When it is cool, it does the opposite.
The air-source heat pump (ASHP) is the most common. It functions by transferring temperature through the air from one place to another.
A water-source heat pump (WSHP), dissipates heat by way of water instead of air.
A dual-source pump that has the features of both air-source and a water-source heat pump has the longest heat pump life expectancy among all.
Average life of heat pump
The life expectancy of heat pumps is longer than most oil, gas, or electric heating systems you would expect. The surveys and studies conducted by the Air Conditioning, Heating & Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) and the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) show that the average heat pump life expectancy is in-between 14 and 16 years if the heat pump is maintained regularly.
If you are located in a coastal area like Pondicherry, life will be shortened due to corrosion caused by sea and sea animals. Expected usage is between seven to twelve years.
The estimated lifetime expectancy of heat pumps is generally more than 10 years (99%), more than 15 years (98%) more than 20 years (95%) depending on good usage, proper maintenance, and suitable installation conditions.
For most heat pump investments, the payback is from 2 years and maybe 4 years depending on the payment method you choose. Aspirations energy provides various financial modes that generally have a payback period of 2 years. If you are planning to buy a new heat pump do check here.
Main Factors affecting Heat pump’s life
Level of Maintenance
Heat pump’s lifespan by ensuring proper and regular service maintenance. This includes regularly cleaning the devices, changing the air filters periodically, and ensuring the defrost feature is functioning optimally.
It is an Uncontrollable factor but can be predicted. If you are having longer and colder winters, it means your heat pump will be running longer and harder than usual. This will significantly reduce its lifespan. In a hot climate, it’s the heat pump will get more wear and tear. One is the weather in your area. Heat pumps will work longer hours when you live in a place where the winters are longer and colder than normal. This contributes to the shortening of its lifespan.
Heat pumps in coastal regions have a shorter lifespan. The salty atmosphere is the reason for this because it causes corrosion and slowly degrades your equipment in the long run. If you are located in coastal areas can expect more corrosion than heat pumps located inside.
Installation of heat pumps should be handled with great caution and by experts like aspiration energy who’ll ensure that it is done properly by following the correct procedures. Proper planning of capacity needed, method of usage, chemicals used are to be checked before installation.
Overuse or improper usage also reduces the life expectancy of your heat pumps. Running the system with doors and windows open reduces your heat pumps life.
How to extend the life of heat pump
How often to service a heat pump? At least once a year. According to experts, regularly servicing the heat pumps can add up an additional two to three years. Also, check Precautionary Steps to be taken Before the Restart of the Heat Pump After a Very Long Time Due to Pandemic Situation like COVID 19
|Level of Routine Maintenance||Split Heat Pump||Package Heat Pump||Ductless Heat Pump|
|No Maintenance||10-15 years||12-15 Years||8-12 Years|
|Low Maintenance (1-2 Items)||15-18 years||15-18 Years||12-15 Years|
|Some Maintenance (2-3 Items)||18-20 years||18-22 Years||15-18 Years|
|All Maintenance (4 items)||21-25 years||22-25 Years||18-20 Years|
Among the factors that affect the lifespan of a heat pump, oversizing and poor maintenance are the most damaging. Wear and tear of many parts will be accelerated if there is a lack of maintenance. Oversizing leads to more often on and off cycling of the system, which can put more effort on the blower motor or compressor, causing the part to damage quickly. If you are located in a coastal area, the condenser unit is prone to corrosion. As the compressor puts in thousands of hours of mechanical operation during the heat pump’s life, it is expected that it will eventually wear out.
Most components are serviceable but the compressor’s replacement cost is very high. In such a case, many buyers opt for a new system, particularly if their existing system is too older and less efficient.
How to measure Efficiency of Heat Pump
The coefficient of Performance (CoP) is the ratio of heat output generated to the amount of energy input (electrical energy) for a heat pump. It is commonly used as it is important to understand the differences so that the heat pump will work successfully, and to be able to compare different models that might be using different measures.
COP can be expressed as
COP = Hh / Hw
COP = Coefficient of Performance
Hh = heat produced (Btu/h, J, kWh)
Hw = equivalent electric energy input (Btu/h, J, kWh) = 3413 Pw
PW = electrical input energy (W)
If a heat pump delivers 3.5 units of heat for every unit of energy input – the COP is 3.5
Seasonal Coefficient of Performance (SCoP) used mainly with air source heat pumps to give a measure of heat pump performance over the year, considering varying air temperatures. There are five climatic zones defined across India.
Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) Used mainly with air source heat pumps to give a measure of heat pump cooling performance over the year, considering varying air temperatures which are also based on climatic zones.
Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) is a measure of the ratio of thermal power delivered to the total electrical power used.
How Can You Tell When Your Heat Pump Needs Replacement?
Noise and Smell
Heat pumps generally produce some noises during starting and shutting down, also when switching to defrost mode, or even a constant humming during operation. These are all normal. But if you suddenly notice a change in the sounds coming from the heat pump, it’s best to get a technician to check it out. If the problem persists, then you decide to buy a new unit. Heat pumps vibrate naturally. However, this vibration usually will worsen over time. It can damage parts, sometimes causing a gas leak.
Foul smells are also signs to check out for. If it can’t be fixed by filter maintenance or replacement, then it’s likely a more significant problem like mold or mildew build-up on the evaporator coil or inside the ductwork.
Failure to Heat or Cool as Temperature Setting
Heat pumps are meant to produce warm or cold air according to the temperature settings. When this becomes malfunction, your heat pump starts producing cold air when you’ve set it to warm (or vice versa).
This can be due to a failed reversing valve or sometimes due to a check valve inside your heat pump. This commonly occurs in older systems. Confirm that the problem is a simple obstruction or not, then start shopping for a new unit.
If your system is not operating at its optimum state when a significant decrease in airflow can be noted. If a technician can’t correct this, when considering a new heat pump is your best option.
Leaking of the Refrigerant or Excess Condensation
A little condensation normally occurs in heat pumps. But if you notice your appliance dripping any fluid inside or outside, you had to better call the technicians. This is not only a nuisance but also a safety concern as it involves refrigerant chemicals. When combined with advancement in the age of your unit, it’s a clear sign that you need to replace your heat pump.
High Energy Bills
Heat pumps are one of the most energy-efficient heating and cooling systems. If the efficiency of Heat pump is minimized, you are bound to get increased energy bills. An energy audit is necessary to ascertain if your heat pump is the reason for the spike in energy costs. There are also other failures described in detail here.
Frequent Need for Repairs Long After the Expected Life (15years)
It’s common for your heat pump to malfunction and require some fixing once in a while (even if you service it more regularly). But when you begin doing frequent significant repairs or replacements, you may need to think about the cost implications and just compare with opting for a new unit.
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