System Optimisation Service (SOS) for Heat Pumps

When most people think of a "maintenance service" for a reverse cycle air conditioner (aka "Heat Pump"), they usually think of giving the pre-filters a quick vacuum clean or wash.  However, whilst that is a monthly task that most people should be doing, a real maintenance service involves flushing, cleaning and removing grime from the inner workings of the indoor and outdoor units of a typical heat pump. 

Heat Pump SOS on an external heat pump unit

An investment in Home Efficiency Group's experienced Heat Pump Technicians will typically extend the life of your heat pump investment, will make it more cost effective to operate, will improve the health of the air within your home and is better for the environment.

The types of heat pumps (reverse-cycle air conditioners) that can be serviced include split systems (wall or ground mounted), multi-head systems, cassette heat pumps (located in the ceiling) and ducted heat pumps - most makes and models. 

Call us on 1300 96 80 60 to book in a service!

Why service your heat pump?

Heat pumps are like cars… 

A regular service is required periodically to:

  • maintain smooth and efficient operation;
  • keep repairs to a minimum;
  • make your heat pump last longer;
  • improve the air quality of your home;
  • maximise your return-on-investment; and
  • minimise noise levels of the system.

    A build-up of dust, lint, spider webs, moths, mould, bacteria and algae etc... can all have a detrimental affect on the operation, running costs, noise levels, health benefits and longevity of your system.

    What is involved with the Heat Pump SOS?

    The service takes about 1 hour with two technicians, or about 1.5 hours if it is just a sole technician onsite. The Heat Pump SOS(tm) includes:

    • Log the serials numbers of the units being serviced
    • Remove the covers or housing from the internal and external units
    • Clean and disinfect the coils/fins on the internal and external units
    • Inspect and clean the electrical boards for short-outs and/or insects on the internal and external units
    • Inspect the fan scrolls and check for balancing issues on the internal and external units
    • Flush out the condensate drain trays, and ensure adequate drainage by performing drainage testing
    • Clean drainage pans
    • Check and clear debris from the external unit (as often this will prevent drainage and lead to rusting)
    • Clean the filters on the internal unit
    • Inspect the insulation blanket on the external unit to check for dampness (which reduces its ability to insulate).
    • Put the housing back on the internal and external units and wipe down
    • Do performance testing & monitoring (achieving specific air temperatures within a given time frame)

    How often do heat pumps need servicing?

    Heat pump manufacturers advise an annual service. In practice, however, we find that there is a percentage of systems that only require a service every two years. An annual service is required for your heat pump if you live in a household that: 

    • runs their heat pump consistently throughout the cooler months;
    • uses their heat pump as their primary heater in the house;
    • uses their heat pump for both heating and cooling throughout the year;
    • commonly ventilates the house (often letting dust in) or do a lot of cooking;
    • is located in a city or town nearby to busy roads.

    If you do not belong in one of these categories, then service your heat pump a maximum every two years. However, if you have noticed a decrease in the effectiveness of your heat pump or extra noises that weren't there initially (either in the internal or external units), then we suggest an earlier service.

    Pricing Schedule

    Standard costs for a Heat Pump SOS(tm) are outlined below:

    • Single Split System Heat Pump (wall or floor mounted) - $165 each.
    • Multi-split heat pump system - $165 base price plus $65 per additional internal head unit.
    • Cassette Heat Pump - $165
    • Ducted Heat Pump System - $195

    We may not be able to access some high-wall systems or roofs more than a single storey high due to safety concerns.

    Extra fees may apply to difficult access scenarios (e.g. where the inverter is located on a second floor of a dwelling with limited access, or a ducted system is in very narrow sub-floor confines). Subject to onsite inspection. Replacement parts (if required) extra. Travel fees of $2.50 per km one way apply to jobs further than 25km from the Launceston or Hobart GPO. All prices include GST.

    Is a Heat Pump SOS just the same as cleaning my filters?

    What is the difference between a Heat Pump SOS(tm) and simply cleaning the filters? We have had a series of questions like this from customers, so we thought we'd do an article to outline the main differences.

    The main difference is that a filter clean is one of approx 25 tasks that are done during a Heat Pump SOS(tm).  The filter is just one of 9 main components of the entire heat pump system.

    Additionally, the Heat Pump SOS targets the internal AND external units of your heat pump, and uses specialised instruments to check the electrical amperage and perform other diagnostic tasks. When most people clean filters, it is usually just on the internal unit.

    In a nutshell, a heat pump is full of components that need to transfer hot or cold temperatures to one another. When they get a build-up of dust or grime on them, they become partially insulated and don't thermally transfer as effectively. Also, the inside of a heat pump (both internal and external units) have to drain away a lot of moisture that has condensed on its components. When blockages occur, this causes rusting and spillages, so internal drainage mechanisms are cleared and checked.

    Heat Pump manufacturers recommend a service every 12 months if you use it regularly to heat or cool your home.

    Common heat pump issues...

    Most heat pumps in Tasmania are a “split system”, where you have an inside unit (often call the “head” unit) and an outside unit. The following items outline the most common issues to affect heat pump systems, in our experience: 
    Outdoor Unit


    • Spiders enter the unit and can cause drainage areas to block up and the process control board to short out.
    • The drainage mechanisms can block up, which leads to the compressor rusting out and can cause general damage to the unit.
    • The blanket over the compressor (which insulates it) becomes damp and causes rust and mould.

      Indoor Unit

      • The drain pan can retain stagnant, bacteria-laden water, so needs to be fully drained and cleaned. This can help to improve the air quality in your home.
      • Pre-filters become engrained with dust, so need to be washed and dried. This should be done on a monthly basis by you when the heat pump is used consistently.

        Both internal and outdoor units:

        • The fan scroll becomes clogged with dust, thus increasing friction and noise, as well as potentially unbalancing the fan shaft. The bearings can then wear out which can lead to a whining noise. Often the noise is not picked up by the customer as they become accustomed to it over the years. When the fans have to work harder, too much power can be drawn through the electrical boards, which can lead to a short circuit.
        • The internal and external unit coils become covered with dust (or spider webs in the case of the outdoor unit), which then makes the entire system need to work harder to generate the same amount of warm or cool air. As the system is working harder, this will shorten the unit life and make the system less efficient and less cost effective.
        • Air quality decreases when dust is being recycled and bacteria and algae (stagnant water) is not adequately flushed out. Note: severe algae problems mostly only occur in warmer climates only.

        HEG Energy - Home Efficiency GroupHome Efficiency Group
        Local Call Fee: 1300 96 80 60
        285 Invermay Road, Invermay TAS 7248 
        1/65 Albert Road, Moonah TAS 7009