Heat pump maintenance: checklist for a functional and cost-efficient heating system

In this article, you will learn all the important aspects of heat pump maintenance to ensure optimum performance.

With simple checks, you can increase the efficiency of your heat pumps and reduce your long term operating costs.

Download our free checklist and get a detailed step-by-step maintenance guide to identify potential problems and ensure long-term efficiency.

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List of contents

Should you maintain your heat pump on a regular basis?

Compared to conventional heating systems such as gas or oil heating, heat pumps are low-maintenance assets.

The reason for this is that they work without burning fossil fuels and are made from durable components.

Facilities management specialists advise performing inspections on a regular basis, despite the low maintenance requirements, as shorter maintenance intervals can reduce electricity consumption by up to 25%.

In addition, regular servicing and general maintenance procedures significantly extend the service life of the entire system and its components. This reduces overall maintenance costs and downtime risks, resulting in a more optimal asset management process.

As an integral part of predictive maintenance in facilities management, it is reasonable to check heat pumps at fixed intervals. This ensures that the system always runs efficiently and without interference.

In addition, scheduled maintenance allows mitigating longer interruptions in operation, ensuring comfort and safety of both staff and building visitors.

Good to know:

Heat pumps have to be disabled briefly during maintenance, so it is advisable to carry out the procedure during the summer months, when no additional heating is required.

Is heat pump maintenance obligatory?

The Federal Office of Economic Affairs and Export Control (BAFA) requires regular maintenance for heat pumps subsidized through their funding programs. Every heat pump has to be tested one year after installation.

Whether mandatory or not, those who have their heat pumps checked regularly benefit in several ways. One of which is, that many heat pump manufacturers extend their warranty when proper maintenance contracts are in place or regular maintenance is carried out during the first few years of heat pump operation.

According to EU Regulation 517/2014 systems with certain refrigerants must be checked regularly for leaks. This applies to heat pumps, air conditioning and refrigeration systems that use fluorinated greenhouse gases in a quantity of at least 5 tons of CO2 equivalent.

Asset operators must ensure that such leak tests are carried out at the mandatory intervals. The date of the next inspection is then based on the date of the last inspection.

Important to note: In building management, every system deserves special attention. No matter whether it is the ventilation systems, maintenance of smoke detectors or fire safety measures – it is vital to become aware of all legal liabilities and to draw up a specific maintenance plan for every asset in the building.

The operator is obliged to inspect and maintain his systems regularly as part of his operator responsibility and its fulfilment.

More on this topic:

How often does a heat pump need to be serviced?

There are no legally prescribed maintenance intervals for privately used heat pumps, but it is recommended to inspect the systems every year. The exact period between inspections depends on characteristics such as the type of design and technology used.

A short overview of heat pump types

  • Air-to-water heat pump (air heat pump): Thermal energy is extracted from the ambient air and fed into the heating circuit.
 
  • Brine to water heat pump (geothermal heat pump): Extracts heat directly from the ground. For this purpose, either a shallow collector or several 100-meter-deep geothermal probes are used to tap the heat stored in the ground.
 
  • Water-to-water heat pump (groundwater heat pumps): uses the groundwater a few meters below the earth’s surface as a heat source. The groundwater heat is extracted from a well or collector at a maximum depth of 20 meters and fed into the heating contour.

What kind of maintenance does a heat pump require?

The exact steps for maintaining a heat pump depend on its type.

As a rule, the specialist always checks the hydraulic and electrical links and connections, in addition to controlling the refrigeration circuit for leaks.

In addition, the heating pump experts company always carries out an inspection of the connected hot water and heating system with all of its pumps, filters, etc.

Depending on the heat pump model and manufacturer, additional maintenance work may be required.

Download our free heat pump maintenance checklist now!

Maintenance of air-to-water heat pumps

With the air heat pump, it is particularly important that the air intake and outlet openings are checked and cleaned whenever necessary. In addition to this, the specialist checks the condensate tray and the drains, which remove the humidity.

The maintenance technician must ensure that there are no blockages or impurities. If necessary – usually every three years – the air heat exchanger is professionally cleaned.

Geothermal heat pump maintenance

If you have a brine-to-water heat pump, the expert will check for sufficient frost protection during regular maintenance.

The standard maintenance protocol includes checking the chemical composition of the brine, examining the system for leaks and measuring the pressure levels. The brine is refilled as required and leaks are patched up. The heat circulation filter is also cleaned.

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Groundwater heat pump maintenance

In the case of a water-to-water heat pump, the servicing company regularly checks the wells and pumps. This includes components like valves and filters.

The visual inspection of the well ensures that deposited water impurities do not accumulate, leading to wear and impairing heat pump performance.

The following table provides an overview of the various system requirements:

Type of heat pumpMaintenance tasks
All typesTesting for leaks
All typesChecking components for signs of wear and tear
All typesChecking the system pressure and temperature
Air-water heat pumpInspection of the supply and exhaust air ducts for indoor systems. Cleaning if necessary
Air-water heat pumpChecking the condensate drain
Brine water heat pumpChecking the brine level to guarantee frost protection. Topping up with brine if necessary
Brine water heat pumpChecking the filters. Cleaning if necessary
Brine water heat pumpMeasuring pressure to identify possible leaks
Geothermal heat pumpChecking the brine pipes for condensate
Water-to-water heat pumpVisual inspection of the well system
Water-to-water heat pumpFilters, valves and pumps inspection

Heat pump maintenance: What can you do by yourself, and when is a specialist is required?

To get the most out of your heat pump, it is advisable to carry out maintenance with the help of a professional, expert company.

However, you can also take steps to extend your system functionality by yourself.

Here you will see an example of how to carry out heat pump maintenance by yourself:

YouTube video

We have put together tasks for maintaining your heat pumps that you can do by yourself. This checklist can also serve as proof of compliance.

Do-it-yourself heat pump maintenance checklist download now for free!

Heat pump parts which require maintenance and their typical system failures

When operating a heat pump, you should pay particular attention to the pumps itself as well as the compressor: They are susceptible to wear and tear as well as breakdowns.

The compressor generates mechanical friction because it is operating under high pressure and temperature fluctuations. Therefore, insufficient lubrication can lead to permanent damage. The same applies to circulation pumps, which draw in the heating water and are also subject to wear.

Other critical components are valves and fans. Valves control the coolant flow and must be checked for leaks. Fan motors are unprotected against the effects of weather and dust, making their bearings prone to becoming dirty and defective.

Digital solutions to organize optimal heat pump maintenance and documentation

Follow these three simple steps to optimize your heat pump maintenance:

1. Plan recurring maintenance appointments in the app, with a handy calendar view

You’ll never miss a maintenance appointment with Wowflow’s convenient calendar view.

2. Perform heat pump maintenance

Your maintenance team has access to all relevant information via the mobile app and uses a checklist to carry out the maintenance task. Additional images and comments are added and stored automatically.

3. Create automated maintenance reports in PDF format:

  1. Once the maintenance has been completed, you can generate professional PDF reports with just one click.                                                                                                                                        
  2. Do you need a signed confirmation as official proof? Be fast and legally compliant thanks to the PDF signature function.                                                                                                                            
  3. Save your reports in Wowflow with advanced filter options, or simply export the data to your ERP/CAFM-tool.

Keep an eye on your maintenance processes with Wowflow.

 

Try Wowflow now for free!

Conclusion

Periodical heat pump maintenance is vital to ensure its optimal performance and longevity. Potential problems can be identified at an early stage by inspecting key components.

This helps to avoid expensive repairs and breakdowns. The use of a special maintenance checklist can help to systematically work through all the relevant steps.

Simplify your maintenance processes with Wowflow. Download the app to organize your maintenance tasks and easily upload your checklists. Optimize the performance of your heat pump and avoid expensive breakdowns.

Frequently asked questions

The average service life of heat pumps is usually around 15 to 20 years. With particularly good maintenance, however, it can also be operated for over 30 years.

The average cost of maintaining a heat pump is around €150. These costs do not cover the installation or replacement of any spare parts that may be required.

It is important to note that, depending on the type of heat pump, maintenance work involves different levels of effort, which can lead to additional costs. However, annual maintenance, including travel costs, should estimate no more than €300.

Neglecting maintenance can have various negative consequences for the heat pump. On the one hand, the performance of the system is reduced because dirt or damage to components cannot be noticed and rectified on time. Power consumption can also increase about 25% due to performance losses.

In addition, the risk of major failures or even damage, for example to the motor or control unit, increases. If defects occur, they can often only be corrected with expensive repairs.

Regular maintenance, on the other hand, ensures the reliability, efficiency and longer service life of the heat pump system.