The efficiency and capacity of central heat pumps depend on sufficient airflow. There should be between 400 and 500 cfm (cubic feet per minute) airflow for every ton of a heat pump’s air conditioning capacity. Performance and efficiency deteriorate if the airflow is less.

According to studies conducted by Energy Star, 50% of all heat pumps have major problems with incorrect refrigerant pressure, inadequate airflow and leaky air ducts. These factors influence the performance of the whole heat pump system, forcing it to use more energy and work harder.

A HVAC technician can improve a heat pump’s performance by carrying out these checks and tasks:

  • Checking the refrigerant charge and, if necessary, correcting it.
  • Ensuring the duct system is properly insulated, sealed and clean.
  • Checking the fan and airflow speed.A technician can also improve airflow by increasing the fan speed, cleaning the evaporator coil, or enlarging the return ducts. Enlarging the ducts might seem to be a drastic action but, sometimes, it is the only remedy for high energy bills and poor comfort.If you have an annual HVAC plan, the technician can check the refrigerant, airflow and ducts during his next visit. But, if you hear noises coming from the blower or the ducts, call a technician right away.

    Over and above having a maintenance plan, there are some things that homeowners can do to improve performance and airflow of their heat pumps:

  • Ensure no furniture blocks the air returns and vents.
  • Vacuum dirty return covers and vents.
  • Change the air filters regularly.