How to clean a heat pump filter

What is a heat pump filter? 

If you have an Air Source Heat pump or ground source heat pump, your system will likely have a filter. 

The filter is the first barrier to stop all dirt, dust and debris from getting into your heat pump unit. It is designed to protect the rest of the heat pump from outside particles. 

Should you clean a heat pump filter? 

You should regularly clean your heat pump filter to ensure that your heat pump system runs efficiently. 

Cleaning the heat pump filter will help the system to run efficiently, pump clean air into your home and elongate the life span of the system. 

How often should you clean a heat pump filter?

You should aim to clean your heat pump filter between once a month and every three months (or 4 – 12 weeks). 

The amount you should clean your filter depends on how often you are using the heat pump. 

If your filter is in a dirty area where it’s likely to get dirty, you may need to clean it more regularly to ensure that it is functioning at peak performance. 

You are likely to work out how often your heat pump filter needs to be cleaned depending on your usage and the location of the heat pump. 

You may find that your heat pump filter gets dirtier or more blocked at different times of the year. In the winter you may find that there is more dirt in the heat pump, so be sure to check it regularly to make sure you are getting the most out of your heating system. 

Do heat pumps need to be professionally cleaned?

Heat pump filters do not generally need to be professionally cleaned. You should be able to clean your heat pump filter yourself on most occasions. 

If you are getting your heat pump regularly maintained, you may get a filter clean included within your maintenance plan. However, check with your local installer or maintenance company to see if this is included in your service. 

Why clean a heat pump filter? 

You need to clean a heat pump filter to ensure that the system runs efficiently. If you do not regularly clean your filter, your heat pump will not be functioning properly and will use more energy to run. 

Cleaning your heat pump filter will help you to get better performance from the unit. The build-up of dirt and dust can stop the airflow meaning that the heat pump is less efficient when not cleaned. 

Cleaning your heat pump filter will also help you to avoid the build-up of any bacteria or mould which could produce a damp musty smell in your living area and reduce the quality of the air being pumped into your home. 

Cleaning the air filter will also help to elongate the life of your heat pump and keep it in good working order. 

How to clean a heat pump filter 

Cleaning a heat pump filter is an easy task which you can normally do yourself. Here is how you can clean most heat pumps, but be sure to check with your manufacturer if you are unsure of any of the steps covered. 

  1. Turn the heat pump off

Make sure that the heat pump is fully turned off at the mains before starting to clean it. 

  1. Take off the cover

You should generally be able to lift the cover off the front of the heat pump via a small tab or button. Take off this cover to access the filter below. 

While you have the cover off, wipe it with a damp cloth to remove any dust or dirt from it. 

  1. Take out the filter

Remove the filter that has been catching any dust and dirt from outside. You should be able to easily lift out the filter when the cover is off. There may be a small tab that you need to push or pull to access the filter.  

  1. Clean the filter 

Gently clean the filter either using a small brush to push away the dirt and debris or using a hoover with a brush attachment on it. Be careful with the filter as they can be quite delicate. 

You can often rinse the heat pump filter with warm water – less than 50 degrees celsius. Check with your manufacturer if this is advised.

If you do rinse or soak the filter it is important to let it dry fully before placing it back in the heat pump.

  1. Clean inside the heat pump 

While you have the heat pump off and the cover open, it is a good idea to clean the inside of the heat pump too. The fan is likely to experience some build up that has managed to get through the filter. 

Aim to wait for the heat pump to be off for about five hours before you try to clean the inside of the heat pump. This is because there could be condensation inside which would make it hard to clean. 

Once the heat pump is dry, gently vacuum inside the heat pump either with a brush or hoover with the brush attachment. Be very careful not to knock or damage anything while cleaning inside the heat pump. 

To finish off, take a cloth and wipe around the inside to remove any last bits of dirt. 

You should not get any of the inner workings of the heat pump wet

  1. Assemble the filter and cover 

Once everything is clean and you have allowed all the components to fully dry, you can start to reassemble your heat pump.

Add the filter back in and ensure it clicks into place. Then you can replace the cover on the front. 

What equipment do you need to clean a heat pump? 

The equipment you will need to clean a heat pump filter is: 

  • Rubber gloves 
  • A vacuum cleaner with different attachments 
  • Dry cloth 
  • Bowl of water
  • Small brush

Do you need to replace heat pump filters? 

As a general rule, you should look to replace your heat pump filter every year. This is to ensure that your heat pump is running as efficiently as possible. 

Check your manufacturer’s handbook to see how regularly they recommend you change the filter.