Heat pumps are a relatively new addition to many homes, and as such, homeowners may not know where they are located. This hardily surprising since most of use have never even seen a heat pump, let alone know how they work. So, where is your heat pump located?
The answer may depend on the type of heat pump you have. Some models are placed entirely outdoors, while others have an indoor and outdoor component. The most common type of heat pump is the split-system, which has both an indoor and outdoor unit. The outdoor unit contains the compressor and condenser, while the indoor unit houses the evaporator coil.
In this article I’ll take you through the process of finding your heat pump and will also cover the different components and installation methods used.
- 1 Heat Pump Location
- 2 What Exactly Does A Heat Pump Look Like?
- 3 Finding the Ideal Location of your Heat Pump In Your Home
- 4 Do I Have AC or a Heat Pump?
- 5 FAQs
Heat Pump Location
Since your heat pump consists of two components, the indoor and outdoor unit, it will be located in two places. The first place you’ll find your heat pump is inside your home, and the second place is outside.
The indoor unit of your heat pump is typically located inside an exterior wall, floor or ceiling and is normally at the point most central to the home. It is also common for the indoor unit to be located in a closet, basement or crawl space. If you have a split-system heat pump, the evaporator coil will be located inside the indoor unit.
Your indoor unit (also known as the air handler) is housed inside an exterior wall (has direct contact with outside).
A refrigerant line connects the heat pump component to the outdoor unit. The two parts should never be more than 50 feet (15.24 m) apart, because connection difficulties may develop as a result.
These lines can be either exposed or encased in a conduit.
Outdoor unit (The main part of the system)
It is much easier to locate the outdoor unit of your heat pump since it is “outside”. The outdoor unit houses the compressor and condenser and is usually located on a concrete pad or other firm foundation near the side or rear of your home.
It is generally much easier to locate since the positioning of the outdoor unit is pretty much the same in every installation.
It will likely be at the back or side of the property and ideally shielded from direct sunlight.
The vast majority of heat pump technicians will install the heat pump with the best access to the outdoor unit from the side of the house.
This leaves room for future maintenance and repair without having to move the unit.
No matter whether it is the indoor or outdoor unit, both of them need to be installed in an area that is properly ventilated.
What Exactly Does A Heat Pump Look Like?
A heat pump looks like an air conditioning unit that is found on the side of most homes. The only difference is that a heat pump has a reversing valve that allows it to operate in both cooling and heating mode.
The outdoor unit contains the compressor, while the indoor unit houses the evaporator coil. These two parts are joined by copper tubing (the refrigerant lines) that carries the refrigerant between them.
Finding the Ideal Location of your Heat Pump In Your Home
It is much easier to find somewhere to install your outdoor unit than your indoor unit. The outdoor unit can be placed on a concrete pad or other firm foundation near the side or rear of your home.
The ideal location for an outdoor heat pump is on the north-facing side of the house where it will be protected from direct sunlight. This will help to keep the unit cooler and prevent any overloading that could occur during operation.
When choosing a location for your indoor heat pump, there are a few things you need to take into account.
The first is that the unit needs to be close to an exterior wall so that the refrigerant lines can be run to the outdoor unit.
Secondly, the area will need to be well ventilated to allow the heat pump to work effectively.
It is also important to choose an area that is central to the home so that the heat can be evenly distributed throughout.
The indoor unit shouldn’t be in the direct path of natural sunlight, as this will make the heat pump work harder than necessary and could shorten its lifespan.
It is also important to ensure that there is enough space around the unit for adequate airflow. If the unit is too close to a wall or piece of furniture, this can restrict the airflow and cause the heat pump to overheat.
Once you have found the ideal location for your heat pump, you need to make sure that it is level. This can be done by using a spirit level or by placing a level across the top of the unit.
If the heat pump is not level, it can cause problems with the operation of the unit and may even void your warranty.
Do I Have AC or a Heat Pump?
There are a few things you can do to see whether you have an air conditioner or heat pump. The first is to take a look at your outdoor unit.
- If you see two copper pipes coming out of the top of the unit, this is an indication that you have a heat pump.
- If your thermostat has a switch that allows you to change the mode from cooling to heating, then you have a heat pump. If there is no such switch, then you probably have an air conditioner. You can also check the wiring diagram on your outdoor unit to see which type of system you have.
- Check the metal panel on the side or back of the condenser (the outdoor unit). This panel may tell you what the unit is?
- Check to see if there is a reversing valve. This is a good indication that you have a heat pump.
How high should a heat pump be off the ground?
A heat pump installer will install the outdoor unit of your heat pump no less than 8 inches off the ground. This is to ensure that it will be higher than the snow level in the winter and will not be flooded in the event of heavy rains.
Can I install my own heat pump?
While it is possible to install your own heat pump, it is highly recommended that you use a professional installer. Heat pumps are complex pieces of equipment and you may forfeit your warranty if you attempt to install it yourself.
In addition, a professional installer will be able to ensure that your heat pump is installed correctly and will provide you with peace of mind knowing that it has been done right.
How close to the house does an air source heat pump need to be?
12 to 24 inches (one to two feet) is the ideal distance from your house to the outdoor unit of an air source heat pump. This will ensure that the refrigerant lines are long enough to reach the indoor unit but not so long that they are a trip hazard.
How do I know if my heat pump is too big or too small?
If your heat pump is too big, it will cycle on and off more frequently than a properly sized unit. This can lead to increased wear and tear on the unit and may shorten its lifespan.
A heat pump that is too small will have to run for longer periods of time in order to achieve the desired temperature. This can also lead to increased wear and tear and may cause the unit to overheat.
If you are unsure of the size of heat pump you need, it is best to consult with a professional installer. They will be able to help you choose a unit that is properly sized for your home.