How To Clean A Heat Pump: Everything You Need To Know

If you want maximum comfort and higher energy savings in your home, then maintaining the efficiency and adequate performance of the heat pump remains crucial. A regular cleaning schedule has a pivotal role in achieving this goal. 

From removing dirt and debris to preventing mold and bacterial growth, significant cleaning has a lot to offer for extending lifespan and reducing potential operational costs. But do you know how to clean a heat pump properly without calling the professionals? 

You don’t need to worry as we’re here with our comprehensive guide that will help you learn the most effective yet simple method to clean the heat pump. No matter whether you’re a pro or a newbie to HVAC maintenance, you can excel in heat pump cleaning with the following guide: 

What Is A Heat Pump?

A heat pump is an important component of the HVAC system. It works as both a cooling and heating element offering versatile functionality. It transfers heat from the interior and exterior environment. It’s different from traditional furnaces or air conditioners. The heat pump extracts heat from the air outside and transfers it indoors for heating.

In the summer, it works in reverse, removing heat from indoor air and transferring it outdoors to cool the space. By accelerating this process of heat transfer, heat pumps offer efficient heating and cooling solutions, making them a popular choice for residential and commercial applications seeking year-round comfort and energy savings.

Why Optimal Heat Pump Cleaning Is Important?

You are here to learn how to clean a heat pump but do you know the crucial reasons and factors that necessitate the optimal cleaning schedules? The following section tells the major reasons why optimal cleaning is important:

  • Efficiency: When there are dust, dirt particles, etc. accumulate on the heat pump’s surface, it impacts the overall performance and reduces the effectiveness of heating and cooling your residential or commercial places. 
  • Energy Savings: A clean heat pump operates more efficiently while consuming a very small amount of energy to preserve desired indoor temperatures. Regular cleaning allows for lower energy bills and reduces average electricity consumption. 
  • Extended Lifespan: By preventing the buildup of dirt and particles, proper cleaning can boost the lifespan of your heat pump, decreasing the need for highly-priced repairs or untimely replacement.
  • Indoor Air Quality: Heat pumps cleaning circulate cleaner air all through your residential or commercial place, decreasing the presence of allergens, pollutants, and mildew spores that may compromise indoor air quality and lead to severe breathing problems.
  • Consistent Performance: Routine upkeep and cleaning ensure that your heat pump always provides the most optimal heating and cooling overall performance, keeping your place comfortable throughout the year. 

How To Clean A Heat Pump: Detailed Explanation 

Cleaning the heat pump is a straightforward process. You just need to learn how to clean a heat pump using simple methods and you can have an exceptional cooling and heating performance from your heat pump. Here are the required cleaning tools, thorough cleaning methods, and some expert tips for further maintenance:

Gathering The Required Tools

Before you initiate the cleaning process, you need to make sure that you have the proper cleaning toolkit. Having all the necessary tools, supplies, and materials handy will accelerate the cleaning process and prevent you from running for the required cleaning material. Here’s what your toolkit must include:

  • Bucket 
  • Spray Bottle 
  • Gloves 
  • Safety Goggles
  • Lukewarm Water
  • Dry Clothes 
  • Mild Detergent
  • Vacuum Cleaner With Brush Attachment
  • Water Hose 
  • Screwdriver 
  • HVAC Foaming Cleaning Agent 
  • HVAC Anti-mold Deodorizer 

Cleaning the Air Filters

  • When starting the Heat Pump cleaning process, make certain that the plugs are removed from the power source. You can consider this step as a safety precaution both for you and the heat pump.
  • Locate the air filters of the heat pump inside your HVAC system. These are typically located in the air duct or within the specific pumping area.
  • Remove the filters through the access panel properly to initiate the cleaning process. Once removed, inspect the filters for any dirt, dust, and residual buildup. 
  • Now, check the manufacturer’s instructions to learn whether the air filters are washable or not. This is essential to prevent damage and other mechanical faults to the air filters.
  • If the filters are washable, then prepare a soapy cleaning solution to wash them using sponges. When cleaned, rinse them off to get rid of residual particles. 
  • If your heat pump filter is not washable, then you can clean it using the vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment. Keep the pressure of the vacuum mild so that it doesn’t cause damage. 
  • Once done, keep the heat pump filter separately and allow it drying time meanwhile you can clean the other components. 

Cleaning the Exterior and Fan Blades

  • The exterior and fan blades are the most contaminated components of the heat pump that attract foreign particles more often. 
  • Remove any leaves, debris, vegetation, etc. from the heat pump’s exterior. You can use brushes or a vacuum to clean this particular area of the heat pump unit.
  • Clean the fan blades using a soft brush and remove the accumulated debris and residual particles.
  • When cleaning the fan blades, you need to check the fan motors for wear, damage, and other issues. If notice any, you can contact professionals for replacements.
  • Ensure that no obstructions are blocking the airflow and hindering the performance of the fan blades. Also, the exteriors are free from leaves, foreign particles, etc. 

Flushing the Condensate Drain Line

  • The condensate drain line is typically positioned close to the indoor air handler unit. It can be a PVC pipe or hose linked to the unit.
  • Carefully disconnect the condensate drain line from the indoor unit. Be prepared for any water or particles that can come out of the line.
  • Use a mixture of water and moderate detergent or vinegar to flush out any dust, algae, or mold buildup inside the drain line. You can use a funnel or pour the solution immediately into the drain starting.
  • Once the drain line is cleaned, reconnect it to the indoor unit securely.
  • Pour a small amount of water into the drain pan to ensure it drains properly through the cleaned drain line.

Also Read: How To Clean Up Exploded Glass

Steps For Cleaning The Heat Pump Coil 

  • Switch off the power source connected to the heat pump on the circuit breaker earlier than cleansing the coils to prevent electric shock.
  • Remove the access panels or covers to get entry to the coils. The coils are generally located within the outside unit of the HVAC heat pump.
  • Use a smooth brush or coil cleansing brush to gently cast off any dirt, residue, or debris from the coils. Work gently to avoid bending or damaging the fins at the coils.
  • Apply a coil purifier or slight detergent solution to the coils, following the producer’s instructions. Leave the cleanser for a few minutes to loosen any stubborn buildup.
  • Use a garden hose with an attachment to rinse off the coil cleaner and dust from the coils. Start from upwards and work your way down to ensure thorough cleaning.
  • Once the coils are clean and dry, reassemble any of the access panels or covers and switch the power supply on followed by inspecting the heat pump.

The Benefits of Professional Heat Pump Cleaning

Heat pump cleaning and the entire HVAC system, professional cleaning has a different impact on heat pump maintenance. You must seek professional Heat Pump cleaning and maintenance services annually. Here are some potential benefits of opting for a professional heat pump cleaning:

Comprehensive Inspection:

Professional heat pump cleaning services conduct a thorough inspection of your entire HVAC system before cleaning them. They can better identify the potential issues that hinder the heat pump’s efficiency. They can identify even those faults that might not be detected by untrained individuals.

Specialized Equipment and Techniques:

Professionals also use specialized equipment and techniques for the cleaning process and other servicing functions. This allows them to reach even the hardest spots and surfaces. Their specific tools also help to clean stubborn stains and spots effectively. 

Efficiency Optimization:

Through meticulous cleaning and tuning, professionals optimize the efficiency of your heat pump. This results in improved performance, reduced energy consumption, and lower utility bills over time. Their expertise allows them to identify and rectify any inefficiencies or issues that may be hindering the system’s performance.

Air Quality Improvement:

Professional cleaners prioritize indoor air quality by thoroughly removing allergens, dust, and contaminants from your heat pump. This results in cleaner, healthier air circulating throughout your home, which is especially beneficial for individuals with allergies or respiratory issues.

Warranty Compliance and Protection:

Many heat pump manufacturers require proof of professional maintenance to uphold warranty coverage. By hiring professionals for regular cleaning and maintenance, you ensure compliance with warranty terms, protecting your investment in the system and avoiding potential disputes with the manufacturers due to those warranty-related issues. 

When To Seek Professional Cleaning Help

Now you know the benefits of professional heat pump cleaning. It’s time to determine when you need to seek professional help other than the annual maintenance and service routines:

  • In case you notice any decrease in the cooling or heating capacity of the heat pump, then dirt and residual buildup are the culprits behind it. Professional cleaning services might help you to restore optimum performance. 
  • If there’s a sudden spike in energy bills and costs while there is no corresponding usage, then it’s a sign of an overworking heat pump. This is the result of dirty and contaminated components. Professionals will detect and give the most preferable solutions for your problem. 
  • If some rooms in your home are consistently warmer or cooler than others, it may indicate airflow issues or other problems with your heat pump. Professional cleaners can diagnose the issue and restore balanced temperature distribution.
  • Following the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule is crucial for ensuring the longevity and efficiency of your heat pump. If it’s been more than a year since your last professional cleaning, it’s a good idea to schedule one to keep your system running smoothly.
  • If you’ve attempted DIY cleaning but still notice performance issues or if you’re unsure about the proper cleaning procedures, it’s best to seek professional help. Trained technicians have the expertise and specialized equipment needed to thoroughly clean your heat pump without causing damage.


Ques 1. What is the simplest method to clean a heat pump?

Ans. If you’re looking for the simplest method to clean a heat pump, then using a soapy water solution is the most effective and trusted one. This method is safe as it will not cause any harm or damage to your heat pump.

Ques 2. What should be the cleaning frequency for your heat pump?

Ans. The cleaning frequency for your heat pump mostly depends on the usage and the area you reside in. Also, you need to keep a random check on the heat pump efficiency to determine if it requires cleaning or not. 

Final Thoughts: 

As difficult as it may sound, cleaning heat pumps is not that difficult. By incorporating the simple steps and methods mentioned in this guide on how to clean a heat pump, you not only get the best out of your cleaning process but also ensure the most optimal performance. As it’s an electric appliance, you must adhere to the safety precautions and be equipped with protective gear throughout the cleaning and maintenance regimen. 

Tonya W. Wetzel

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