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Keeping the Outdoor Cabinet of Your Heat Pump Clear

If your home uses a heat pump to provide for its comfort throughout the year, you need to take special care of it to make sure it continues to work efficiently—especially during the winter. Modern heat pumps have better energy efficiency during cold temperatures than older one, but improper care can quickly alter that. Something to pay close attention to is how much clearance the heat pump’s outdoor cabinet (the compressor) has.

Problems from lack of clearance

The compressor unit of a heat pump cannot have its air flow blocked or impeded. This can create a number of issues:

  • Loss of energy efficiency – The heat pump must be able to draw a sufficient amount of air over the coils to allow for evaporation to take place, which absorbs heat. If the heat pump can only draw in a fraction of the air necessary, it will struggle to absorb enough heat for indoor comfort, and that will raise bills.
  • Reduced equipment life – A heat pump in general will run hotter if it loses its air flow, and this will shorten the system’s lifespan.
  • Increased chance of repairs – Not only will the larger strain on the system cause components to wear down and break more frequently, but lack of clearance makes it more likely that debris will get inside the cabinet and cause damage.

How much clearance does the heat pump need?

It’s best to see that the cabinet has 24 inches clear on all sides: that means no fences, walls, shrubs, etc. If a heat pump had a professional installation, the technicians should’ve already made certain that the cabinet was far enough from the side of the house. You’ll need to make certain that plants are kept trim and away from the unit, and that the area is clear of snow and leaves.

Malek Heating & Cooling provides comprehensive services for heat pumps in Wilmette, IL. We’ve delivered great comfort for the Chicagoland area since 1998.

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