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Posted on 17 11 2021

Maintain your rental’s heat pumps for healthy homes compliance

By now landlords should have ensured their rental property complies with the healthy homes standards, or at least have a plan to bring the property up to scratch. 

In this article, we’ll talk about the heating standard and specifically, how to deal with heat pump maintenance to ensure your property stays compliant.

The healthy home heating standard requires landlords to provide one or more fixed heaters, of acceptable type and capacity, that can directly heat the main living room. This is to meet the World Health Organisation recommendation of 18˚ C as the minimum indoor temperature.

A warm, dry home is not only healthier and more comfortable for your tenants, it also benefits you because your tenants are likely to stay longer if their home is warm and cheap to heat. And if you need to find new tenants, a home that has energy-efficient heating is easier to market and can attract a higher rent.

Heat pumps provide a safe, efficient and effective way to heat your rental property. But they must be maintained in good working order to continue meeting the healthy homes heating standard. 

If a heater can’t be kept in good working order, it must be replaced. 

Routine maintenance 

Landlords and tenants are both responsible for keeping a rental property in good condition. While the tenants are obliged to keep the property reasonably clean and tidy, you are responsible for maintenance and repairs. 

Applying this to heat pumps, your tenants should keep the outdoor unit clear of plants, weeds and debris. You can also ask them to clean the indoor unit and its filters regularly - at least every three months and preferably monthly. This is in the tenants’ best interests, as dirty filters will make the heat pump less efficient and may result in mould spores being blown into the house along with the warm or cool air. 

You should show your tenants how to clean the filters and units when you carry out the first inspection of the property. You could also direct them to this instructional video.

If the filters aren’t easy to access or require special technical knowledge, tools or skills to clean, it will be your responsibility to maintain the heat pump. This comes under your obligation to keep heaters in good working order. 

Repairs

You should ask your tenants to tell you if there are any maintenance issues with the heat pump. As soon as you are made aware that the heat pump isn’t working properly, you must have it repaired within a “reasonable timeframe”. 

A reasonable timeframe for replacement or repair may vary, and will depend on the availability of service professionals or replacement parts. You should always keep your tenant updated on the progress of any repairs and keep records of the process, such as when you contacted a repairer or ordered parts.

Servicing

To protect your investment and ensure continued compliance with the healthy homes heating standard, you should have your heat pump professionally serviced every year. Your heat pump technician will be able to give you a breakdown of what their service will cover, but typically it should include:

  • Cleaning filters, vanes, grilles and outer covers
  • Checking both indoor and outdoor units to ensure they are level and mounts are intact, and checking for unusual sounds or vibrations
  • Checking fan blades or scrolls and cleaning as required
  • Checking for leaks around the flare fittings
  • Checking condensate line and testing for drainage
  • Checking all electrical wiring including the terminals
  • Checking and testing start/stop sequence and heating/cooling changeover
  • Checking evaporator and condenser coils
  • Test run and checking air on and air off temperatures

Covid

Your ability to carry out maintenance or repairs may sometimes be disrupted by Covid restrictions. For information on what you can and can’t do at each alert level, read these guidelines from Tenancy Services

Our team of experts at GreenSide know all about maintaining heat pumps for long life and efficiency. Get in touch with us today for practical advice on keeping your rental property compliant with the healthy homes heating standard. 

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