Heat Pump Maintenance: Professional Annual Maintenance Necessary?

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WoostaGal
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Heat Pump Maintenance: Professional Annual Maintenance Necessary?

Post by WoostaGal »

The installer of my Mitsubishi heat pumps (MSZ-FS06NA & MUZ-FS06NA) tells me they need annual professional maintenance. I believe the annual fee for all four units would be something like $300. The manual describes some maintenance that the homeowner can do, and I plan to perform that maintenance.

The SEER is 33.1. If I don't have them professionally maintained annually would that rating be likely to go down by some very minimal amount?
What say you? In case it matters, I am very conservation minded and use less heating and cooling than the average American.
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Watty
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Re: Heat Pump Maintenance: Professional Annual Maintenance Necessary?

Post by Watty »

Check to see if you need to have annual maintenance to get warranty coverage.

It was a conventional HVAC system but I once had one which came with a 10 year parts and labor warranty but it required that I have the annual maintenance done.

If you do the maintenance yourself be sure to keep good records just in case there is a warranty claim.
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Re: Heat Pump Maintenance: Professional Annual Maintenance Necessary?

Post by jebmke »

Watty wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 7:49 am Check to see if you need to have annual maintenance to get warranty coverage.

Yes; our systems have a standard mfr parts warranty but the full warranty (labor by service co) requires annual maintenance.

Our service co is a small, locally owned firm. They "earned" their fees one year when a major part failed two weeks after the 10-year warranty. They went to bat with the manufacturer and got a free replacement.
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just frank
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Re: Heat Pump Maintenance: Professional Annual Maintenance Necessary?

Post by just frank »

I have a simpler 12 yo Goodman HP, and the only maintenance is to change the filters (I get a reminder from the tstat).

I had a guy come out after 8 years, and he said that (1) nothing was wrong and (2) these HP checkups are a waste of his time and my money ($50 special). He then went on a screed about how HPs are terrible in our climate, are unreliable, and I should rip mine out and re-install the oil boiler I took out in 2012. :oops:

AS said above, the only reason is if its necessary for warranty claim. I have heard of stranger things. Like modern washing machines reporting their owners to corporate for not cleaning their lint traps in a timely manner. :shock:
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Re: Heat Pump Maintenance: Professional Annual Maintenance Necessary?

Post by Broken Man 1999 »

We have maintenance on our two heat pumps.

One air handler is in our attic, so it is necessary for someone to go up and change the air filter and clean the drip line. DW has
has never been an attic person and I can't, so we have hired it out for years.

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mgensler
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Re: Heat Pump Maintenance: Professional Annual Maintenance Necessary?

Post by mgensler »

We have four Fujitsu cold climate heat pumps. 3 ducted and 1 ductless. We vacuum the outside coils when dirty and change the interior filters. The ductless inside units typically have lesser filters and could require more.in-depth cleaning of the coils. After 3 years, ours still looks ok. No other maintenance should be required.
bluegill
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Re: Heat Pump Maintenance: Professional Annual Maintenance Necessary?

Post by bluegill »

An important task is to clean the outside coils. This is very low skill task. Go to Lowes or Home Depot and get an aerosol can of coil cleaner and do it yourself.
Another important task is to test the one (1) capacitor for the compressor start & fan start. They cost around $10-$15 on Amazon. HVAC will charge $400 to replace the capacitor. The capacitor is a major souce of failure.
Harmanic
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Re: Heat Pump Maintenance: Professional Annual Maintenance Necessary?

Post by Harmanic »

Clean the filters every 6 months. This can be done with a brush and/or vacuum. Takes a few minutes.
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WoostaGal
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Re: Heat Pump Maintenance: Professional Annual Maintenance Necessary?

Post by WoostaGal »

jebmke wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 7:52 am
Watty wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 7:49 am Check to see if you need to have annual maintenance to get warranty coverage.

Yes; our systems have a standard mfr parts warranty but the full warranty (labor by service co) requires annual maintenance.
...
Good point, jebmke and Watty. Thanks for pointing that out.
bluegill wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 8:33 am An important task is to clean the outside coils. This is very low skill task. Go to Lowes or Home Depot and get an aerosol can of coil cleaner and do it yourself.
Another important task is to test the one (1) capacitor for the compressor start & fan start. They cost around $10-$15 on Amazon. HVAC will charge $400 to replace the capacitor. The capacitor is a major souce of failure.
Thanks, bluegill. I'll have to check the documentation to see if I can identify where the capacitor is. And I'll have to search YouTube etc to find out how to test them. I do have a multimeter, and have used it minimally. I assume a multimeter is involved for this task?
Harmanic wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 8:47 am Clean the filters every 6 months. This can be done with a brush and/or vacuum. Takes a few minutes.
Harmanic - you're talking about the filters on the inside unit, correct?
just frank wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 7:54 am ... I had a guy come out after 8 years, and he said that (1) nothing was wrong and (2) these HP checkups are a waste of his time and my money ($50 special). ...
I suspect that annual maintenance is nothing but an income generator. Good to know your guy concurs.
just frank wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 7:54 am ... He then went on a screed about how HPs are terrible in our climate, are unreliable, and I should rip mine out and re-install the oil boiler I took out in 2012. :oops:
Ha! ha !!! :shock:

Thanks, everyone, for your helpful responses. :happy
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Re: Heat Pump Maintenance: Professional Annual Maintenance Necessary?

Post by Harmanic »

WoostaGal wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 10:48 am
Harmanic wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 8:47 am Clean the filters every 6 months. This can be done with a brush and/or vacuum. Takes a few minutes.
Harmanic - you're talking about the filters on the inside unit, correct?
Indeed. Mine required unscrewing the cover, pulling off the filter, vacuuming the dust off, and putting it back.
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THY4373
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Re: Heat Pump Maintenance: Professional Annual Maintenance Necessary?

Post by THY4373 »

WoostaGal wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 10:48 am
bluegill wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 8:33 am Another important task is to test the one (1) capacitor for the compressor start & fan start. They cost around $10-$15 on Amazon. HVAC will charge $400 to replace the capacitor. The capacitor is a major souce of failure.
Thanks, bluegill. I'll have to check the documentation to see if I can identify where the capacitor is. And I'll have to search YouTube etc to find out how to test them. I do have a multimeter, and have used it minimally. I assume a multimeter is involved for this task?
Bluegill means well but on the capacitor advice please do NOT follow it with your Mitsubishi systems. Bluegill is thinking of traditional single/dual speed HVAC units where the technology is largely unchanged from 30+ years ago. They are relatively simple systems. Your Mitsubishi system is an inverter system with far more complex electronics. I have replaced multiple start capacitors in traditional systems but I would not going poking around the electronics on an inverter system.

Also to your original question I have two Mitsubishi systems and other than changing the internal filter regularly and vacuuming and washing the outdoor units myself I don't plan on having regular service.
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WoostaGal
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Re: Heat Pump Maintenance: Professional Annual Maintenance Necessary?

Post by WoostaGal »

THY4373 wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 11:07 am
WoostaGal wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 10:48 am
bluegill wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 8:33 am Another important task is to test the one (1) capacitor for the compressor start & fan start. They cost around $10-$15 on Amazon. HVAC will charge $400 to replace the capacitor. The capacitor is a major souce of failure.
Thanks, bluegill. I'll have to check the documentation to see if I can identify where the capacitor is. And I'll have to search YouTube etc to find out how to test them. I do have a multimeter, and have used it minimally. I assume a multimeter is involved for this task?
Bluegill means well but on the capacitor advice please do NOT follow it with your Mitsubishi systems. Bluegill is thinking of traditional single/dual speed HVAC units where the technology is largely unchanged from 30+ years ago. They are relatively simple systems. Your Mitsubishi system is an inverter system with far more complex electronics. I have replaced multiple start capacitors in traditional systems but I would not going poking around the electronics on an inverter system.

Also to your original question I have two Mitsubishi systems and other than changing the internal filter regularly and vacuuming and washing the outdoor units myself I don't plan on having regular service.
I have to admit that poking around in any electronics is not one of my skills or favorite things to do so THANK YOU, THY4373, for setting me straight on this.
RubyTuesday
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Re: Heat Pump Maintenance: Professional Annual Maintenance Necessary?

Post by RubyTuesday »

I don’t know anything about this system, but in older traditional heat pumps (and ACs), in my experience connecting the gauges to check refrigerant levels is one of the primary sources of issues. I would do filter changes and coil cleaning (assuming those are relevant for your unit) and not pay in advance for ongoing maintenance services.
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Re: Heat Pump Maintenance: Professional Annual Maintenance Necessary?

Post by suemarkp »

Even if you have the older type with a capacitor, I would not check it every year and expect them to last at least 10 years. They are kind of a pain to check. I would look to see its size (rating in microfarads, uF or MFD) and have a new one on hand. When it fails, you'll know, and you can determine then if the capacitor died and replace it.
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skp
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Re: Heat Pump Maintenance: Professional Annual Maintenance Necessary?

Post by skp »

Not sure. We've been having them done. This year our freon level was low. Not sure if my husband would have figured that out on his own.
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Re: Heat Pump Maintenance: Professional Annual Maintenance Necessary?

Post by iamlucky13 »

I have not been having annual maintenance performed on mine (Goodman, single stage). Doing so would wipe out the cost savings the heat pump was intended to achieve.

Currently it is 13 years old. It had one issue shortly after installation that maintenance would not have affected (dead condenser fan), which the installer took care of under a full short term warranty. It has had a couple other minor issues that also would not have been affected by maintenance that I fixed myself, although would reasonably have been hired out as repairs for most people (a couple separate issues with electrical contactors, and damaged outdoor air sensor wiring due to sloppy work by the installer.

The main maintenance I do is keep the outdoor condenser clean and change the filters. I have also opened up the air handler to clean the indoor coils twice, but they weren't really dirty, so I haven't followed a strict schedule for this.

One thing I wish I had done is recorded a baseline performance in terms of temperature of the air coming out of a specific register compared to indoor air temperature, at certain outdoor air temperature. It would be possible to repeat this same test periodically one days with approximately the same outdoor air temperature in order to monitor for decreases in performance. This could provide a means to judge if an HVAC tech should be called to check coolant charge or other factors. I probably should go ahead and do this now. It's never too late to start watching for a decline in performance over time.

That kind of monitoring might not be as revealing with a variable speed system, since it could be challenging to ensure you are testing the same operating level each time.
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Re: Heat Pump Maintenance: Professional Annual Maintenance Necessary?

Post by yankees60 »

The deciding factor in who I chose for my vendor to install my 3 Mitsubishi heat pumps was the 1 who told me they did not have to do annual maintenance. That every 5 years or so is a proper interval.
Above provided by: Vinny, who always says: "I only regret that I have but one lap to give to my cats." AND "I'm a more-is-more person."
EricGold
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Re: Heat Pump Maintenance: Professional Annual Maintenance Necessary?

Post by EricGold »

bluegill wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 8:33 am
Another important task is to test the one (1) capacitor for the compressor start & fan start. They cost around $10-$15 on Amazon. HVAC will charge $400 to replace the capacitor. The capacitor is a major source of failure.
You need a multi-meter that can measure capacitance, and you better be crystal clear about electrical safety. A charged capacitor can kill you.
Even if you know that the capacitor needs replacement, you will not be able to walk into a plumbing/HVAC store and get a replacement because they will only sell parts to people with an HVAC license.

True story
When I worked as an electrical apprentice, we were called to service a failed heat pump. The motor had died and was under warranty so we took it out of the heat pump and brought it to the authorized distributor. The distributor took the defective motor and agreed to a free replacement, but they would not give us the motor because we did not have an HVAC license. My boss asked them who they thought knew the most about motors by far, to no avail.

---
Maintenance: Filters and Coil cleaning. Do that and the capacitor will thank you
Last edited by EricGold on Mon Jul 08, 2024 5:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
THY4373
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Re: Heat Pump Maintenance: Professional Annual Maintenance Necessary?

Post by THY4373 »

EricGold wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 4:28 pm
bluegill wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 8:33 am
Another important task is to test the one (1) capacitor for the compressor start & fan start. They cost around $10-$15 on Amazon. HVAC will charge $400 to replace the capacitor. The capacitor is a major source of failure.
You need a multi-meter that can measure capacitance, and you better be crystal clear about electrical safety. A charged capacitor can kill you.
Even if you know that the capacitor needs replacement, you will not be able to walk into a plumbing/HVAC store and get a replacement because they will only sell parts to people with an HVAC license.
---
I agree completely on not mucking around with 240 volts AC and capacitors unless you know exactly what you are doing. The plumbing/HVAC store thing however is no longer a problem you can buy capacitors on Amazon and more specialized parts from a variety of online retailers who are happy for better or worse to sell to end users. Yeah you might have to wait a bit longer for the part but I have found generally I can find most parts I need for most things.

During Covid my parents had a fridge control board fail, they aren't DIY but the repair guy was like I cannot get the board so I cannot fix your fridge but if you can source the part I'll put it in. The wait time was supposedly 6-12 months. I found one in Canada on Ebay and had it to them in a week (they have a second fridge so not the end of the world). Anyway the guy installed it and was shocked it could be found.
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Re: Heat Pump Maintenance: Professional Annual Maintenance Necessary?

Post by Woodshark »

suemarkp wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 2:49 pm Even if you have the older type with a capacitor, I would not check it every year and expect them to last at least 10 years. They are kind of a pain to check. I would look to see its size (rating in microfarads, uF or MFD) and have a new one on hand. When it fails, you'll know, and you can determine then if the capacitor died and replace it.
This is correct. If your AC goes out, there is a greater than 70% chance that it's that the capacitor has gone bad. I always keep a spare. As a matter of fact, even though my unit is only 1 year old, I ordered one as a backup yesterday from Amazon. If you have a conventional AC or heat pump, go to your outside unit. You can take off the service panel and read the label on the capacitor and order yourself a new one for less than $25. Just don't touch the terminals as you might experience a shock. If you're unsure how to do this, go to YouTube and type in Air Conditioner capacitor replacement. Lots of DIY videos.
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Re: Heat Pump Maintenance: Professional Annual Maintenance Necessary?

Post by jebmke »

WoostaGal wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 11:46 am
THY4373 wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 11:07 am
WoostaGal wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 10:48 am
bluegill wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 8:33 am Another important task is to test the one (1) capacitor for the compressor start & fan start. They cost around $10-$15 on Amazon. HVAC will charge $400 to replace the capacitor. The capacitor is a major souce of failure.
Thanks, bluegill. I'll have to check the documentation to see if I can identify where the capacitor is. And I'll have to search YouTube etc to find out how to test them. I do have a multimeter, and have used it minimally. I assume a multimeter is involved for this task?
Bluegill means well but on the capacitor advice please do NOT follow it with your Mitsubishi systems. Bluegill is thinking of traditional single/dual speed HVAC units where the technology is largely unchanged from 30+ years ago. They are relatively simple systems. Your Mitsubishi system is an inverter system with far more complex electronics. I have replaced multiple start capacitors in traditional systems but I would not going poking around the electronics on an inverter system.

Also to your original question I have two Mitsubishi systems and other than changing the internal filter regularly and vacuuming and washing the outdoor units myself I don't plan on having regular service.
I have to admit that poking around in any electronics is not one of my skills or favorite things to do so THANK YOU, THY4373, for setting me straight on this.
I worked for a company that made "Medium Voltage" equipment. On my first factory tour I asked what is "Medium Voltage" -- I think the answer was anything up to 15,000 volts. I kept my hands in my pocket from then on.
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yankees60
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Re: Heat Pump Maintenance: Professional Annual Maintenance Necessary?

Post by yankees60 »

Woodshark wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 5:20 pm
suemarkp wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 2:49 pm Even if you have the older type with a capacitor, I would not check it every year and expect them to last at least 10 years. They are kind of a pain to check. I would look to see its size (rating in microfarads, uF or MFD) and have a new one on hand. When it fails, you'll know, and you can determine then if the capacitor died and replace it.
This is correct. If your AC goes out, there is a greater than 70% chance that it's that the capacitor has gone bad. I always keep a spare. As a matter of fact, even though my unit is only 1 year old, I ordered one as a backup yesterday from Amazon. If you have a conventional AC or heat pump, go to your outside unit. You can take off the service panel and read the label on the capacitor and order yourself a new one for less than $25. Just don't touch the terminals as you might experience a shock. If you're unsure how to do this, go to YouTube and type in Air Conditioner capacitor replacement. Lots of DIY videos.
I am in year 2 Of my heat pumps.

So far have only used them for heat. No air conditioning. Does that mean this is an issue I do not have to worry about?
Above provided by: Vinny, who always says: "I only regret that I have but one lap to give to my cats." AND "I'm a more-is-more person."
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Re: Heat Pump Maintenance: Professional Annual Maintenance Necessary?

Post by suemarkp »

No, a heat pump requires the same maintenance as an air conditioning unit, and probably more often since it runs on both the hot and cold seasons. They have the same parts. What is different is the heat pump reverses the flow of refrigerant when in heating mode, so the hot part becomes the cold part, and the cold part becomes the hot part.

Heat pumps have a compressor and an outside fan. Each may have a capacitor. There are heat exchangers on the outside and inside. The outside one needs cleaned periodically. The inside one should stay clean as long as you have good filters.
Mark | Somewhere in WA State
Irene
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Re: Heat Pump Maintenance: Professional Annual Maintenance Necessary?

Post by Irene »

We have had our Mitsubishi heat pump six years and have had a maintenance check done once so far, last year, which didn't find anything untoward. It was I think $210 (possibly that was the before-tax amount, in which case it would have been about $230). That's a low enough average per year that I would consider it noise in the budget.
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WoostaGal
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Re: Heat Pump Maintenance: Professional Annual Maintenance Necessary?

Post by WoostaGal »

Thanks, everyone, for all of your helpful comments. Working with electronics is not part of my skill set so I am VERY cautious around electricity.

After reading y'alls comments, I am thinking that I will have them serviced in 5 years and at that time I would have the technicians replace the capacitors proactively.
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Re: Heat Pump Maintenance: Professional Annual Maintenance Necessary?

Post by snackdog »

We have a few heat pumps and I put them on a service contract which provides fairly comprehensive two-annual checks up. Two techs spend about a day and a half. The key thing they do is crawl around under the house accessing the air handlers, which I prefer not to do. They change filters but also do a full set of diagnostics on each system - pressures, amperages, temperature differentials, check for rattles, oil leaks, etc. The heat pumps get the top and side covers completely disassembled and removed for cleaning and also a full set of diagnostics. I can look at the diagnostics for each unit over time to see how they are doing. Probably overkill but good peace of mind that everything is tuned up and running optimally.
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tm3
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Re: Heat Pump Maintenance: Professional Annual Maintenance Necessary?

Post by tm3 »

I posed the question of annual HVAC "maintenance" to my neighbor who is the retired owner of an HVAC company, i.e. is annual maintenance analogous to annual oil change in a car or is it more like buying an extended warranty on a computer or TV or whatever. He said that it is like car maintenance but one should pay no more than about $200.
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Re: Heat Pump Maintenance: Professional Annual Maintenance Necessary?

Post by zlandar »

EricGold wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 4:28 pm
bluegill wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 8:33 am
Another important task is to test the one (1) capacitor for the compressor start & fan start. They cost around $10-$15 on Amazon. HVAC will charge $400 to replace the capacitor. The capacitor is a major source of failure.
You need a multi-meter that can measure capacitance, and you better be crystal clear about electrical safety. A charged capacitor can kill you.
Even if you know that the capacitor needs replacement, you will not be able to walk into a plumbing/HVAC store and get a replacement because they will only sell parts to people with an HVAC license.

True story
When I worked as an electrical apprentice, we were called to service a failed heat pump. The motor had died and was under warranty so we took it out of the heat pump and brought it to the authorized distributor. The distributor took the defective motor and agreed to a free replacement, but they would not give us the motor because we did not have an HVAC license. My boss asked them who they thought knew the most about motors by far, to no avail.

---
Maintenance: Filters and Coil cleaning. Do that and the capacitor will thank you
You don’t need a multimeter. You could just replace the capacitor regardless of whether it’s good or bad. Seems wasteful but when the starting rate to get one replaced is $200+ and they start at $15…

Pull the disconnect for the outdoor condenser. With an insulated screwdriver touch the common to herm and common to fan terminals on the capacitor to discharge it. Take a picture of the capacitor connections. Replace the capacitor. Multiple Youtube videos demonstrating how to do this safely.

You can buy capacitors off Amazon. I pay more for the Amrad capacitors because they are supposedly higher quality.
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Re: Heat Pump Maintenance: Professional Annual Maintenance Necessary?

Post by EricGold »

zlandar wrote: Tue Jul 09, 2024 10:53 am Pull the disconnect for the outdoor condenser. With an insulated screwdriver touch the common to herm and common to fan terminals on the capacitor to discharge it. Take a picture of the capacitor connections. Replace the capacitor. Multiple Youtube videos demonstrating how to do this safely.

You can buy capacitors off Amazon. I pay more for the Amrad capacitors because they are supposedly higher quality.
I know how to discharge a capacitor. I also know the risks if done wrong.
I agree with the approach to have a replacement handy, and to use it if it doubt. As for Amazon ... I don't buy electronics there. The percentage of sub-par, defects, and plain old counterfeit who knows what is sky high.
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Re: Heat Pump Maintenance: Professional Annual Maintenance Necessary?

Post by THY4373 »

yankees60 wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 5:35 pm
I am in year 2 Of my heat pumps.

So far have only used them for heat. No air conditioning. Does that mean this is an issue I do not have to worry about?
Simplistically air conditioners and heat pumps are the same thing but for the addition of a reversing valve in heat pumps so the refrigerant flow can be reversed. The capacitors in standard (non-inverter) heat pumps are used as part of the compressor and external fan start and operation. I do not know if more modern inverter systems have them as well. And to answer your question yes it doesn't matter AC or heat mode if you do have a bad capacitor your AC/heat pump will not work though in heat mode it will fail over to secondary heat if you have it.
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Re: Heat Pump Maintenance: Professional Annual Maintenance Necessary?

Post by talzara »

THY4373 wrote: Tue Jul 09, 2024 11:22 am Simplistically air conditioners and heat pumps are the same thing but for the addition of a reversing valve in heat pumps so the refrigerant flow can be reversed. The capacitors in standard (non-inverter) heat pumps are used as part of the compressor and external fan start and operation. I do not know if more modern inverter systems have them as well. And to answer your question yes it doesn't matter AC or heat mode if you do have a bad capacitor your AC/heat pump will not work though in heat mode it will fail over to secondary heat if you have it.
Inverter heat pumps do not have start/run capacitors. They work by rectifying AC into DC and then inverting it back into AC.

The compressor is not running on the AC waveform that comes from the electric company, so there's no need to modify it with a capacitor. Instead, the AC waveform is destroyed, and the inverter creates a new AC waveform. The computer decides exactly what it should look like. There's no need for a capacitor.
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Re: Heat Pump Maintenance: Professional Annual Maintenance Necessary?

Post by yankees60 »

snackdog wrote: Tue Jul 09, 2024 6:56 am We have a few heat pumps and I put them on a service contract which provides fairly comprehensive two-annual checks up. Two techs spend about a day and a half. The key thing they do is crawl around under the house accessing the air handlers, which I prefer not to do. They change filters but also do a full set of diagnostics on each system - pressures, amperages, temperature differentials, check for rattles, oil leaks, etc. The heat pumps get the top and side covers completely disassembled and removed for cleaning and also a full set of diagnostics. I can look at the diagnostics for each unit over time to see how they are doing. Probably overkill but good peace of mind that everything is tuned up and running optimally.
What is your annual cost for this?
Above provided by: Vinny, who always says: "I only regret that I have but one lap to give to my cats." AND "I'm a more-is-more person."
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yankees60
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Re: Heat Pump Maintenance: Professional Annual Maintenance Necessary?

Post by yankees60 »

tm3 wrote: Tue Jul 09, 2024 6:58 am I posed the question of annual HVAC "maintenance" to my neighbor who is the retired owner of an HVAC company, i.e. is annual maintenance analogous to annual oil change in a car or is it more like buying an extended warranty on a computer or TV or whatever. He said that it is like car maintenance but one should pay no more than about $200.
That amount does does sound right. But what did he say about frequency how often they should be done?
Above provided by: Vinny, who always says: "I only regret that I have but one lap to give to my cats." AND "I'm a more-is-more person."
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Re: Heat Pump Maintenance: Professional Annual Maintenance Necessary?

Post by suemarkp »

WoostaGal wrote: Tue Jul 09, 2024 6:48 am Thanks, everyone, for all of your helpful comments. Working with electronics is not part of my skill set so I am VERY cautious around electricity.

After reading y'alls comments, I am thinking that I will have them serviced in 5 years and at that time I would have the technicians replace the capacitors proactively.
They markup is significant on capacitors when a tech replaces them. If you can disassemble enough to see them and note the size and voltage rating, you could buy your own and have the tech replace them at some service interval. Not sure I'd replace them every 5 years just in case when it will probably cost $400 to do that.

The capacitors could be simple. A single capacitor has 2 leads and is usually used for starting the motor. Some have run capacitors. This could be separate, or you can get two capacitors in one can. In that latter case, you need to make sure you get a replacement that has two capacitors of the correct size. You could buy a factory one at an HVAC place, but it will probably cost more. Or, you can buy from Grainger probably much more cheaply. But you need to know the size and dimensions or what you need which can be a problem if you are not mechanically or electrically inclined. You may even have to remove the capacitor in order to read its label. So the DIY part approach may not work for you.

https://www.grainger.com/category/motor ... Applicable
Mark | Somewhere in WA State
zlandar
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Re: Heat Pump Maintenance: Professional Annual Maintenance Necessary?

Post by zlandar »

EricGold wrote: Tue Jul 09, 2024 11:11 am
zlandar wrote: Tue Jul 09, 2024 10:53 am Pull the disconnect for the outdoor condenser. With an insulated screwdriver touch the common to herm and common to fan terminals on the capacitor to discharge it. Take a picture of the capacitor connections. Replace the capacitor. Multiple Youtube videos demonstrating how to do this safely.

You can buy capacitors off Amazon. I pay more for the Amrad capacitors because they are supposedly higher quality.
I know how to discharge a capacitor. I also know the risks if done wrong.
I agree with the approach to have a replacement handy, and to use it if it doubt. As for Amazon ... I don't buy electronics there. The percentage of sub-par, defects, and plain old counterfeit who knows what is sky high.
I don’t think capacitors are a high enough margin product for the counterfeiters to bother with yet. I test all the capacitors prior to install. They all check out on my multimeter.

If someone doesn’t want to be bothered how to safely work on the condenser they should not touch it. I decided to learn how because I got tired of the escalating prices from the HVAC company I use for years + conflicting info on the need to repair/replace.
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Re: Heat Pump Maintenance: Professional Annual Maintenance Necessary?

Post by talzara »

WoostaGal wrote: Tue Jul 09, 2024 6:48 am After reading y'alls comments, I am thinking that I will have them serviced in 5 years and at that time I would have the technicians replace the capacitors proactively.
suemarkp wrote: Tue Jul 09, 2024 1:31 pm They markup is significant on capacitors when a tech replaces them. If you can disassemble enough to see them and note the size and voltage rating, you could buy your own and have the tech replace them at some service interval. Not sure I'd replace them every 5 years just in case when it will probably cost $400 to do that.
It's a Mitsubishi inverter mini-split. There is no start/run capacitor to replace.
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Re: Heat Pump Maintenance: Professional Annual Maintenance Necessary?

Post by talzara »

zlandar wrote: Tue Jul 09, 2024 10:53 am You don’t need a multimeter. You could just replace the capacitor regardless of whether it’s good or bad. Seems wasteful but when the starting rate to get one replaced is $200+ and they start at $15…
A capacitance meter costs $20.
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Re: Heat Pump Maintenance: Professional Annual Maintenance Necessary?

Post by WoostaGal »

talzara wrote: Tue Jul 09, 2024 1:06 pm ...
Inverter heat pumps do not have start/run capacitors. They work by rectifying AC into DC and then inverting it back into AC.

The compressor is not running on the AC waveform that comes from the electric company, so there's no need to modify it with a capacitor. Instead, the AC waveform is destroyed, and the inverter creates a new AC waveform. The computer decides exactly what it should look like. There's no need for a capacitor.
talzara wrote: Tue Jul 09, 2024 1:43 pm
WoostaGal wrote: Tue Jul 09, 2024 6:48 am After reading y'alls comments, I am thinking that I will have them serviced in 5 years and at that time I would have the technicians replace the capacitors proactively.
It's a Mitsubishi inverter mini-split. There is no start/run capacitor to replace.
Thank you, talzara. I know from reading your many posts on heat pumps that you have in depth knowledge of these systems.

talzara, do you have an opinion on how often the Mitsubishi min-splits should receive professional service for light to moderate use?
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Re: Heat Pump Maintenance: Professional Annual Maintenance Necessary?

Post by THY4373 »

talzara wrote: Tue Jul 09, 2024 1:06 pm
THY4373 wrote: Tue Jul 09, 2024 11:22 am Simplistically air conditioners and heat pumps are the same thing but for the addition of a reversing valve in heat pumps so the refrigerant flow can be reversed. The capacitors in standard (non-inverter) heat pumps are used as part of the compressor and external fan start and operation. I do not know if more modern inverter systems have them as well. And to answer your question yes it doesn't matter AC or heat mode if you do have a bad capacitor your AC/heat pump will not work though in heat mode it will fail over to secondary heat if you have it.
Inverter heat pumps do not have start/run capacitors. They work by rectifying AC into DC and then inverting it back into AC.

The compressor is not running on the AC waveform that comes from the electric company, so there's no need to modify it with a capacitor. Instead, the AC waveform is destroyed, and the inverter creates a new AC waveform. The computer decides exactly what it should look like. There's no need for a capacitor.
Thanks for the explanation and that makes sense. I knew enough to know either way that I was not going to go poking around in my inverter systems given the electronics (and their cost). I have done a few capacitors in older systems in my day but I know my limits.
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Re: Heat Pump Maintenance: Professional Annual Maintenance Necessary?

Post by snackdog »

yankees60 wrote: Tue Jul 09, 2024 1:24 pm
snackdog wrote: Tue Jul 09, 2024 6:56 am We have a few heat pumps and I put them on a service contract which provides fairly comprehensive two-annual checks up. Two techs spend about a day and a half. The key thing they do is crawl around under the house accessing the air handlers, which I prefer not to do. They change filters but also do a full set of diagnostics on each system - pressures, amperages, temperature differentials, check for rattles, oil leaks, etc. The heat pumps get the top and side covers completely disassembled and removed for cleaning and also a full set of diagnostics. I can look at the diagnostics for each unit over time to see how they are doing. Probably overkill but good peace of mind that everything is tuned up and running optimally.
What is your annual cost for this?
It works out to about $87/unit per visit which I consider quite reasonable. I also spend time discussing the work with the techs and am impressed with their professionalism, technical knowledge and honesty. The company is considered the premier HVAC company in the region, is family-owned and treats employees and customers pretty well.
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Re: Heat Pump Maintenance: Professional Annual Maintenance Necessary?

Post by yankees60 »

snackdog wrote: Tue Jul 09, 2024 8:23 pm
yankees60 wrote: Tue Jul 09, 2024 1:24 pm
snackdog wrote: Tue Jul 09, 2024 6:56 am We have a few heat pumps and I put them on a service contract which provides fairly comprehensive two-annual checks up. Two techs spend about a day and a half. The key thing they do is crawl around under the house accessing the air handlers, which I prefer not to do. They change filters but also do a full set of diagnostics on each system - pressures, amperages, temperature differentials, check for rattles, oil leaks, etc. The heat pumps get the top and side covers completely disassembled and removed for cleaning and also a full set of diagnostics. I can look at the diagnostics for each unit over time to see how they are doing. Probably overkill but good peace of mind that everything is tuned up and running optimally.
What is your annual cost for this?
It works out to about $87/unit per visit which I consider quite reasonable. I also spend time discussing the work with the techs and am impressed with their professionalism, technical knowledge and honesty. The company is considered the premier HVAC company in the region, is family-owned and treats employees and customers pretty well.
That is an incredible price since it seems like they'd normally be billed out for at least that much per hour and you are saying that they do 24 total hours of work for only $87! That is BEYOND reasonable!
Above provided by: Vinny, who always says: "I only regret that I have but one lap to give to my cats." AND "I'm a more-is-more person."
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Re: Heat Pump Maintenance: Professional Annual Maintenance Necessary?

Post by talzara »

WoostaGal wrote: Tue Jul 09, 2024 5:03 pm talzara, do you have an opinion on how often the Mitsubishi min-splits should receive professional service for light to moderate use?
The manual says "After the air conditioner is used for several seasons."

You're using it less than average, so start with three years.

Most homeowners in Asia never get their mini-splits professionally serviced. They run them until they fail, and then they replace them. They treat mini-splits as refrigerators because they cost as much as refrigerators. We pay 5 times as much to get the same mini-split installed, so we lose a lot more money if it fails.
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Re: Heat Pump Maintenance: Professional Annual Maintenance Necessary?

Post by WoostaGal »

talzara wrote: Tue Jul 09, 2024 9:24 pm
WoostaGal wrote: Tue Jul 09, 2024 5:03 pm talzara, do you have an opinion on how often the Mitsubishi min-splits should receive professional service for light to moderate use?
The manual says "After the air conditioner is used for several seasons."

You're using it less than average, so start with three years.

Most homeowners in Asia never get their mini-splits professionally serviced. They run them until they fail, and then they replace them. They treat mini-splits as refrigerators because they cost as much as refrigerators. We pay 5 times as much to get the same mini-split installed, so we lose a lot more money if it fails.
Thank you! :)
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Re: Heat Pump Maintenance: Professional Annual Maintenance Necessary?

Post by tm3 »

yankees60 wrote: Tue Jul 09, 2024 1:25 pm
tm3 wrote: Tue Jul 09, 2024 6:58 am I posed the question of annual HVAC "maintenance" to my neighbor who is the retired owner of an HVAC company, i.e. is annual maintenance analogous to annual oil change in a car or is it more like buying an extended warranty on a computer or TV or whatever. He said that it is like car maintenance but one should pay no more than about $200.
That amount does does sound right. But what did he say about frequency how often they should be done?
Once a year.
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Re: Heat Pump Maintenance: Professional Annual Maintenance Necessary?

Post by yankees60 »

As usual There seems to be a wide variety of opinions regarding this. However does anyone Have an idea what is the overall consensus here on this based Based upon all the opinions given?
Above provided by: Vinny, who always says: "I only regret that I have but one lap to give to my cats." AND "I'm a more-is-more person."
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Re: Heat Pump Maintenance: Professional Annual Maintenance Necessary?

Post by newtoseattle »

Yes - I am curious as well.
I do realize they need occasional "deep cleaning" - but that is not done on the yearly maintenance that I have seen. So I guess my question is - what exactly do they do on the yearly maintenance? - if they are just measuring things then I don't see how that's helpful - maybe it could tell you early that its about to break? But that isn't really "preventative" or "necessary".

If a homeowner cleans the outside unit yearly, rinses the filters monthly and occasionally does a "deep clean" of the inside blower wheel - is professional "maintenance" needed? What do they do exactly?
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Re: Heat Pump Maintenance: Professional Annual Maintenance Necessary?

Post by yankees60 »

newtoseattle wrote: Wed Jul 10, 2024 4:20 pm Yes - I am curious as well.
I do realize they need occasional "deep cleaning" - but that is not done on the yearly maintenance that I have seen. So I guess my question is - what exactly do they do on the yearly maintenance? - if they are just measuring things then I don't see how that's helpful - maybe it could tell you early that its about to break? But that isn't really "preventative" or "necessary".

If a homeowner cleans the outside unit yearly, rinses the filters monthly and occasionally does a "deep clean" of the inside blower wheel - is professional "maintenance" needed? What do they do exactly?
Do you rinse your filters? The 1st time I did that and it seemed like it took days for the filters to dry Which meant I couldn't be using the units while they were drying. The second time I used a hand vacuum which seemed to seem to work much better.
Above provided by: Vinny, who always says: "I only regret that I have but one lap to give to my cats." AND "I'm a more-is-more person."
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Re: Heat Pump Maintenance: Professional Annual Maintenance Necessary?

Post by Irene »

I vacuumed the air handler filter but also used disposable filters with a high MERV rating for smoke season (you need to check how high a rating the air handler can, er, handle). If I had thought of rinsing the filter, I would have put in a disposable filter until the other dried. When the filter seemed to have reached the end of its usefulness we switched to disposable year-round rather than buying a new one. (Which reminds me, I should probably check the filter soon. I think it's been a bit.)
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Re: Heat Pump Maintenance: Professional Annual Maintenance Necessary?

Post by talzara »

yankees60 wrote: Wed Jul 10, 2024 1:30 pm As usual There seems to be a wide variety of opinions regarding this. However does anyone Have an idea what is the overall consensus here on this based Based upon all the opinions given?
newtoseattle wrote: Wed Jul 10, 2024 4:20 pm I do realize they need occasional "deep cleaning" - but that is not done on the yearly maintenance that I have seen. So I guess my question is - what exactly do they do on the yearly maintenance? - if they are just measuring things then I don't see how that's helpful - maybe it could tell you early that its about to break? But that isn't really "preventative" or "necessary".
Since the manual says that you can wait "several seasons," annual servicing is too often.

The consensus includes the people who talked about replacing the start/run capacitor, which doesn't even exist on a Mitsubishi inverter mini-split. Follow the manual, not the consensus.
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