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Air Source Heat Pump DIY Maintenance + Guides

Being the proud owner of an air source heat pump can significantly contribute to both energy efficiency and a climate-friendly home. However, things can turn south if you aren’t keeping up with regular maintenance to ensure your heat pump’s optimal performance. We’re big fans of do-it-yourself maintenance on your products in between professional servicing to keep your air source heat pump running in tip-top shape. Follow this simple DIY maintenance guide for your heat pump to get tips and tricks on self-maintenance for your heat pump, plus get a printable option for you to use whenever you need it, along with insights on when it’s time to call an expert.

Understanding Your Air Source Heat Pump:

Before we just jump into the how-tos on self-maintaining your heat pump, it’s super important to understand how the heat pump itself operates. Essentially, your air source heat pump works by transferring heat from the outside air into your home, and vice versa to cool it in the warmer months. It’s wild to know that there’s heat outside, even when temps are in the negatives, but it’s true! There are multiple parts that work to make all of this happen in your heat pump, including a compressor, condenser, evaporator, and refrigerant lines.

Tips for Heat Pump Self-Maintenance:

1 – Regularly Clean or Replace Air Filters:

One of the simplest yet most important maintenance tasks is cleaning or replacing your heat pump’s air filters. Clogged filters restrict airflow, reducing the heat pump’s efficiency and potentially leading to system malfunctions. Check your filters monthly and clean or replace them as needed, especially during peak usage seasons. Want to see filter cleaning in action? Check out our video on how to clean your wall-mounted heat pump air filters, or see our video on how to clean your mini-split ceiling-mounted heat pump air filters.

2 – Keep Outdoor Unit Clear:

The outdoor unit of your heat pump can accumulate dirt, debris, leaves, and even snow depending on the season. Make sure that the area around your heat pump’s outdoor unit remains clear to allow proper airflow. Trim back any growth from bushes, trees, or grass, and be sure to remove any obstructions that could block airflow to the unit.

3 – Inspect and Clean Coils:

Both your heat pump’s outdoor condenser coil and indoor evaporator coil can collect dirt and dust over time, hindering heat transfer. By periodically inspecting these coils and cleaning them, you’ll ensure efficient performance. For the outdoor unit, you can use a hose. Make sure you’re gentle to avoid damaging the fins. For the indoor unit, use a soft brush or vacuum cleaner.

4 – Check and Clean Drainage System:

A clogged condensate drain on your heat pump can cause water leakage or potentially even water damage to your home, and that’s no good! Inspect the condensate drain regularly and be sure to remove any obstructions using a vacuum or a mixture of water and mild detergent. Ensuring proper drainage prevents future issues.

5 – Monitor Refrigerant Levels:

While refrigerant leaks are very uncommon, it’s essential to monitor the refrigerant levels periodically to be sure nothing fishy’s happening with your heat pump. Low refrigerant levels may indicate a leak or other issues that require professional attention. If you notice a significant decrease in cooling or heating efficiency, contact the team at Elephant Energy to inspect and recharge the refrigerant as needed.

6 – Test Thermostat and Controls:

Regularly test your thermostat and heat pump controls to ensure they’re functioning correctly. Sometimes, it can be as simple as replacing the batteries in your thermostat if you’re having issues. You’ll also want to ensure that the settings are appropriate for your climate-friendly home’s needs.

7 – Lubricate Moving Parts:

Some components of your air source heat pump, such as fan motors and bearings, may require lubrication to reduce friction and ensure smooth operation. Refer to your owner’s manual for guidance on lubrication intervals and the type of lubricant to use.

Take a look at our best practices, FAQs, and troubleshooting tips for your heat pump from our team here:

Mitsubishi Heat Pump User Guide
includes: Mitsubishi PUZ, Mitsubishi MXZ-SM/PVFY, Mitsubishi MXZ36-SVZ24, and Mitsubishi MXZ36

When to Call in the Experts:

While self-maintenance can help keep your air source heat pump in good condition, there are certain situations where professional assistance is necessary. Good news – we’re only a phone call or email away!

1 – Complex Repairs:

If you encounter any issues beyond basic maintenance tasks, such as compressor failure, refrigerant leaks, or electrical problems, it’s best to contact the team at Elephant, where we have qualified HVAC technicians ready to help. Attempting complex repairs without proper training and equipment can lead to further damage or safety hazards.

2 – Annual Professional Servicing:

We’re huge supporters of you performing DIY maintenance on your heat pump, but annual professional service can cover the more difficult and complex maintenance needs! During these service visits, a technician will conduct thorough inspections, tune-ups, and system diagnostics to ensure your heat pump is running at its best and proactively address any issues they may see with an expert eye.

3 – Warranty Coverage:

By installing your heat pump with Elephant Energy, you’ll automatically receive a one year warranty for labor. Our Mitsubishi heat pumps that we install also come with a 12- year manufacturer’s warranty. Plus, the Elephant Energy Maintenance + Extended Labor Warranty Packages are a great way to ensure the investment on your heat pump is well-maintained.

Elephant Energy maintenance plan

Following the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance guidelines while also relying on authorized service providers will preserve your warranty coverage. Remember – attempting large DIY repairs yourself or neglecting maintenance overall can void your warranty, so be sure you’re taking close care!

Maintaining your air source heat pump is crucial for maximizing its efficiency, lifespan, and performance. By following the tips and tricks outlined in this guide, you can perform basic maintenance tasks yourself and while keeping your heat pump running smoothly. However, remember to seek professional assistance for complex repairs and schedule annual servicing to address any underlying issues and ensure long-term reliability. With proper care and attention, your air source heat pump can continue to provide efficient heating and cooling for years to come.

Ready to get started? Join us in building a brighter future by electrifying everything, starting with homes. Your choice today shapes our collective tomorrow!

General HVAC Maintenance for your Seasonal Cleaning

We’ve all heard of March Madness, of course we’ve all heard of spring cleaning, and if we own a home, we know what an HVAC system is. Here at Elephant Energy, we’ve decided to combine the three into one perfect mashup: March Maintenance!

Our appliances are kind of like us – they need a seasonal checkup. Regularly maintaining your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (commonly referred to as HVAC) systems ensures that they will live a long, quality life before it’s time to replace them. Beyond hosting a retirement party for your furnace (or maybe you’re more into the festive idea of a second line funeral a la New Orleans? We’re not here to judge!), doing some basic check-ups will make sure your home is safe and healthy. And when it’s time to replace your gas furnace, air conditioner, or central air, remember that we’re here to help with the all-in-one powerhouse of a cold climate heat pump!

If you haven’t yet electrified, read on to find instructions on how to do basic maintenance of your HVAC systems. Performing this maintenance in the spring and fall will help you feel more comfortable working with your HVAC systems (and may clue you in on when it’s time to say goodbye to gas and upgrade to electric instead!)

Jump to:

Gas Furnace Maintenance:

Gas furnace parts, image from Technical Hot and Cold Parts

  • Safety First: Step one in all of the processes we’re about to share is to turn off power to each appliance. This will prevent any accidental starts and will ensure your safety as you get down to business.
  • Replace Air Filters: A simple task that is often overlooked (yes, even if your smart thermostat reminds you!) is replacing the air filters for your gas furnace. Clogged or dirty air filters can block airflow, decrease your gas furnace’s efficiency, and even lead to serious system malfunctions. Your filter type should be visible on the one already inserted, so be sure to buy the same size. They’re recommended to be changed at least every three months, so don’t skip it. (An easy way to remember – change it on each “first day” of a season.)
  • Clean Vents and Ducts: Your vents and ducts are what move heat from your gas furnace around your house. Ensuring proper airflow is important for the furnace’s function. You can use a simple vacuum with a hose attachment or even a soft brush to remove dust and debris from the vents and ducts. They can be screwed on and off if you want to reach a little deeper. This will both improve air flow and ensure good air quality. Don’t skip this step, especially if you’ve got pets! Their fur will find a way to get into every nook and cranny.
  • Inspect and Clean Burners: Did you know your gas furnace has burners? (This is why we recommend switching to a heat pump – we prefer to not burn fossil fuels in our homes!) Back to cleaning – over time, the burners in your gas furnace may accumulate debris or develop rust, affecting their performance. Referring to your gas furnace’s manual, you can carefully remove the burner assembly and look closely for any signs of corrosion or blockages. Use a soft brush to clean the burners gently, making sure you see no obstructions or broken parts, then put back on.
  • Check Pilot Light: If your gas furnace is equipped with a pilot light, ensure it’s lit and burning steadily. If the pilot light keeps extinguishing, it may indicate a problem with the thermocouple or gas supply, which requires professional attention. Don’t try to fix the pilot light yourself!
  • Inspect Flue Pipe: The flue pipe’s job is to vent exhaust gasses safely out of your home. You definitely want to be sure this is in working shape. The flue pipe is often on the top or rear of most gas furnaces. Inspect the flue pipe for any signs of damage, corrosion, or blockages. If you see any obstructions, clear them out of the way with a soft brush and be sure to wear gloves. This will ensure proper ventilation and prevent the risk of carbon monoxide buildup.
  • Inspect and Lubricate Blower Motor: The blower motor plays a crucial role in distributing heated air throughout your home. It’s usually located next to your gas furnace’s air filter. Inspect the blower motor for any signs of wear and tear, which can look like worn bearings or loose belts. If necessary, lubricate the motor according to the manufacturer’s instructions (check your gas furnace’s manual) to ensure smooth operation.
  • Check Thermostat: Finally, test your thermostat to ensure it’s functioning correctly. Replace the batteries if needed, and calibrate the thermostat to ensure accurate temperature readings. We’re big fans of smart thermostats that are programmable for greater energy savings. Hey! That’s a good step toward a Climate-Friendly Home.

Window Unit AC Maintenance:

Window unit air conditioner, image from How Stuff Works

  • Safety Precautions: Just as we promised above, before beginning any of your maintenance tasks for your window AC unit, be sure the power is turned off and the unit is unplugged from the electrical outlet.
  • Clean or Replace Air Filter: Similar to gas furnaces, window unit air conditioners rely on clean air filters for efficient operation. Remove the filter from the unit and inspect it for dirt, dust, and debris. If the filter is washable, rinse it with water and mild detergent, then allow it to dry completely before reinstalling. If the filter is disposable, replace it with a new one according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
  • Clean Evaporator and Condenser Coils: Over time, dirt and debris can build up on both the evaporator and condenser coils, blocking heat exchange which reduces cooling efficiency. Carefully remove the front cover of your window unit AC to access the coils. Use a soft brush or vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment to gently remove dirt and debris from the coils. Be careful not to bend or damage the delicate fins of the coils during cleaning.
  • Check and Clean Drainage Holes: Proper drainage is essential for preventing water buildup and potential damage to your window unit AC. Inspect the drainage holes located at the base of the unit and use a small brush or pipe cleaner to remove any blockages. Ensure the drainage channels are clear to allow condensate to flow freely away from the unit. If you see a lot of leakage from your window AC unit, it can actually mean your filter needs to be cleaned. Good thing we’ve taken care of that already!
  • Inspect Window Seal: A tight seal around the window unit AC helps prevent warm air from entering your home and improves energy efficiency. This rule goes for your doors and windows in general – maybe it’s a good time to check those out, too! Inspect the seal between the unit and the window frame for any signs of damage or gaps. Replace worn-out weather stripping or use foam insulation tape to create a tight seal and prevent air leaks.
  • Inspect and Tighten Screws: In general, window unit air conditioners can vibrate and move. That’s normal, don’t worry! But those vibrations can cause screws and bolts to loosen over time. Check the screws and bolts securing the window unit AC to the window frame and tighten them as needed to prevent rattling and ensure stability while it’s on.

Central Air Conditioning Maintenance:

Central Air Conditioning Unit, image from Guardian Home Experts

  • Safety Needs: That’s right, you guessed it! Before you get started on your central air conditioner’s spring maintenance, turn off power to the unit. We recommend doing this at the main electrical panel as well as power to the outdoor condenser unit – this will prevent any accidental starts while you’re working on the unit.
  • Replace Air Filters: Central air conditioning systems use air filters to trap dust, pollen, and other airborne particles, preventing them from circulating throughout your home. Similar to your gas furnace, you’ll want to check these filters at least quarterly. Make a party of it – filter check day!
  • Clean Outdoor Unit: The outdoor condenser unit of your central air conditioning system is exposed to the elements and can accumulate dirt, leaves, and debris over time. Did you know that you can use a garden hose to gently rinse off the exterior of the unit? Pretty cool! You’ll want to be sure you’re removing any visible dirt and debris. Be careful not to use high-pressure water, as it can damage the delicate fins of the condenser coils.
  • Inspect Refrigerant Lines: The refrigerant lines carry refrigerant between the indoor and outdoor units of your central air conditioning system. We recommend inspecting the refrigerant lines for any signs of damage, such as cracks, kinks, or leaks. If you notice any issues, contact a qualified HVAC technician to assess and repair the problem, as working with refrigerant requires specialized equipment and training.
  • Check Thermostat: Just as you did after servicing your gas furnace, test the thermostat to ensure it’s accurately reading the temperature and cycling the central air conditioning system on and off as needed. Of course, we’ll recommend you replace the batteries if necessary and calibrate the thermostat to ensure precise temperature control throughout your home.
  • Inspect Ductwork: Leaky ducts both waste energy and reduce the efficiency of your central air conditioning system. You can self-inspect the ductwork for any signs of damage, such as tears, holes, or disconnected joints. Seal any leaks with duct tape (hey, THAT’S where the name comes from!) or mastic sealant to improve airflow and energy efficiency. If you’ve got a lot of ductwork issues, call an expert to come take a look.

Remember, regular maintenance of your HVAC systems is what helps you elongate the life of your appliances. With proper maintenance and care, you’re guaranteeing the length of your appliance’s life. However, when you’re ready to make the transition to #ElectrifyEverything, we’ll be here to get you started on your journey. If you finish servicing your systems and think now’s the time to throw a retirement party for your furnace or AC units, get started on Your Electrification Roadmap today!

Elephant Energy & Walden Mutual: Sharing Common Ground When it Comes to Local Impact

If you’ve been following along, you already know that we believe deeply that the path to a sustainable future is paved with many individual actions–we all get to choose how we spend our money, and those choices can impact climate progress. We also get to choose where we invest it. That’s why we’re thrilled to introduce our partnership with Walden Mutual Bank. Choosing to work with Walden was easy, because the overlap of our missions is so natural. We both stand on the common ground that individual choices have the power to drive significant collective change.

Curious about banking with Walden? Read on for a special opportunity to sign up for an individual account! 

Why Walden Mutual? A Line of Credit for the Planet

In need of working capital, we found a mission-aligned partner in Walden Mutual. Their understanding and support of our vision made them the ideal lender for us. Support from Walden marks a significant step in Elephant’s journey, and will enable us to confidently pursue our next phase of growth.

To understand why Walden’s philosophy is so unique, it’s important to first understand what a mutual bank is! Put simply, it’s a financial institution that’s owned by its own depositors (everyday people, like you and me) rather than shareholders, which in turn allows the bank to focus on serving the needs of its members and local community. So, while corporate banks continue to invest deposits in unsavory segments like the fossil fuel industry, Walden only lends to 100% mission-aligned borrowers with a focus on farms, local food businesses, nonprofits, and other sustainable businesses (like us!).
For context, the concept of a Mutual Bank model isn’t new – but it has also become increasingly uncommon. When Walden Mutual opened its doors in 2023, it was the first of its kind in almost 50 years.

The Walden Mutual Difference

A Partnership with Perks

Ready to reexamine where your money is being put to work? Opening an account with Walden may be for you. If you decide to open an account with Walden Mutual and use promo code ELEPHANT, you’ll receive a $100 credit to spend at a range of Walden’s partner businesses, including right here at Elephant Energy.

Importantly, with Walden Mutual, your savings stretch much further than simply earning interest. They become an actionable tool for change when they are invested in renewable energy projects, sustainable agriculture, and local communities. Have questions? Check out Walden’s offerings here

Join Us

At Elephant, a key part of our mission is empowering homeowners to take personal climate action – knowing that the impact of that action spans so much further than the four walls of our own homes. Choosing to bank with Walden Mutual is another one of those choices–a choice that we have made, too. Using your savings not only to earn dividends, but also fund a more sustainable future, sounds like a win-win to us.

Eager to make more climate-friendly choices? Check out our tool, Your Electrification Roadmap®. A few simple questions will get you a personalized plan for a sustainable home. Together, we can make choices that truly make a difference.

5 Ways to Hard Launch your Relationship (With your Heat Pump)

Valentine’s Day is a time of public declarations – when even those of us that typically refrain from PDA find the courage to tell the world, “hey, just in case it wasn’t clear, I really love this person!”. This can take many shapes and forms–engagement, marriage–and even the “hard launch”, which often happens on our social media feeds.

We’re here with a hot take: if you have a heat pump, it’s time to hard launch your relationship with it this Valentine’s Day.

Why? Well, put simply, personal climate action is contagious – in a good way! Research on solar panel adoption (replicated many times, in many geographies) shows that the biggest predictor of whether you will purchase solar panels is whether your neighbor has already done so! Why? As Katherine Hayhoe so eloquently explains, this lowers “the ‘cost’ of information”. Knowing that you can go down the street and ask who installed the equipment and how it went is, well, comforting.

This isn’t the only research that underscores the importance of social proof when it comes to home electrification, though. A study recently published in the journal Energy Policy about household energy decision-making and technology adoption in the U.S. found that the top two information sources homeowners sought after during their consideration process were (1) their own friends and family (~42% survey respondents), and (2) online reviews (~36% of survey respondents).

Here’s the tricky thing about heat pumps and heat pump water heaters though, though. These HVAC systems are hidden away in our basements, utility closets, and backyards – entirely out of sight from the neighbors, typically. Remember the old conundrum, “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it does it even make a sound?” Feels pretty relevant here!

The point is, taking a public stand for personal climate action can dramatically accelerate the pace of progress in your orbit. By taking a few minutes to  “hard launch” your home electrification efforts, you have the opportunity to create a ripple effect of decarbonization far beyond the four walls of your own home.

How to “Hard Launch” your heat pump (on social)

Social media is a great place to share your story! We created these love notes to make it easy. What is an example of a hard launched relationship? Sending ’em a Valentine, of course!

They are yours to save, use, and share! You can tag us on any of these platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Threads, Twitter, LinkedIn, and TikTok).


How to Hard Launch your heat pump without social media

No social media? No problem! When should you hard launch a relationship? Well, we’re taking advice from our friends at VeryWellMind on hard launching your relationship without social media, and translating that to heat pumps.

  • Send a group text to your friends or family members. This can include the name and a photo of your partner. Yes this works great! “Heat Pump” has entered the chat.
  • Call your friends and family individually to discuss your relationship. Another strong option – share your reasons for why you went electric in a good ol’ fashioned phone call
  • Bring your partner out with you to meet your friends. Ehh, this one’s a little trickier…but snapping a selfie with your heat pump to share with friends might just do the trick!
  • Take your partner home to meet your family. This one’s even harder. Then again, dropping off information about a heat pump might be the move
  • Plan a gathering at which you’ll introduce your new partner to your social circle. This one is a gem! Throw a “meet my heat pump” party (and be sure to send us photos)!

So yes, make the cheesy post about your partner (seriously, always make the cheesy post), but don’t forget to also affirm your commitment to a cause that also needs your support now more than ever – the climate.

Ready to get started? Join us in building a brighter future by electrifying everything, starting with homes. Your choice today shapes our collective tomorrow!

Federal Heat Pump Tax Credit – Understanding the 2023 Heat Pump Tax Credit

Is there a federal tax deduction for heat pumps? Yes! The 25C tax credit, under the Inflation Reduction Act, offers substantial benefits for individuals investing in heat pump systems, heat pump water heaters, electrical panel upgrades, select weatherization measures, and energy audits – including you, our customers! How do you qualify for the Inflation Reduction Act heat pump tax credit? Simply install and file the following year to receive the federal tax credit for your heat pump.


  • Value: Enjoy a 30% heat pump federal tax credit on the total purchase of any combination of air source heat pumps and heat pump water heaters, capped at $2,000, other upgrades capped at $1,200 and electrical panel upgrades installed in conjunction with a heat pump or heat pump water heater will be eligible for a tax credit of up to $600. These federal tax credits for heat pumps are definitely worth it!
  • Installation Deadline: To claim the federal heat pump tax credit in a given tax year, you must have installed your heat pump with a SEER2 rating greater than or equal to 16 during that year (no need to search “what SEER rating do I need for tax credit qualification?”). To claim the federal tax credit for heat pumps or heat pump water heaters for the 2023 tax year, ensure your heat pump HVAC system or heat pump water heater installation was completed before December 31, 2023.
    • The credit limit is applicable on an annual basis, resetting each year, allowing for its reuse annually.
  • Property Requirements: Equipment must be installed in an existing home and your principal residence (the place you occupy most of the time). New construction and rentals do not apply for federal tax credits for heat pump installations, including federal tax credits for heat pump water heaters, too. The principal residence must be in the United States and may be a house, houseboat, mobile home, cooperative apartment, condominium, or a manufactured home to qualify.
  • Example: For instance, if your federal tax liability amounts to $3,000 and you qualify for the maximum $2,000 credit, your owed taxes decrease to $1,000 after applying the credit.
    25c Heat Pump Tax Credit

Energy Efficiency

Energy Efficiency investments qualify for the Energy Efficiency tax credit.

  • This credit is 30% of the project cost up to a maximum of credit value of $1,200
  • Upgrades that qualify:
    • Attic Insulation
    • Basement / crawlspace insulation

Home Energy Audits

A home energy audit for your main home may qualify for a tax credit of up to $150. In order to qualify, the home energy audit must:

  • Include a written report and inspection that identifies the most significant and cost-effective energy efficiency improvements with respect to the home, including an estimate of the energy and cost savings with respect to such improvement.
  • Be conducted and prepared by a home energy auditor

Disclaimer: While we provide guidance, it’s crucial to seek advice from a tax professional regarding individual tax situations. Our presentation doesn’t assume liability for your specific tax circumstances.

How to Claim / File for the Heat Pump Tax Credit:

  • IRS Form 5695: Complete this form (specifically Part Two: Energy Efficient Home Improvement Credit) to outline your eligibility for the heat pump tax credit.
  • Fill out your Name, Social Security Number, and your main home’s address. 
    1. PART I: ​​Residential Clean Energy Credit
      Form 5695 Residential Energy Tax Credits
    2. PART II: Energy Efficient Home Improvement Credit
      1. Continue filling out lines 17 through 32.
      2. In Section A Line 18, enter the total invoice amount for insulation and air sealing. 
      3. In Section B Line 25ab, enter the total invoice amount for electrical panel upgrades. 
      4. In Section B Line 29abc, enter the total invoice amount for heat pumps and/or heat pump water heaters.
        Section A - Qualified Energy Efficiency Improvements
        Section B - Residential Energy Property Expenditures
    1. Integration with Form 1040: Add the relevant tax credit details to your standard Form 1040 during the tax filing process.
    2. Submission: Ensure Form 5695 is included when filing your taxes to claim the credit accurately.


    And once again, thank you for being a part of the Elephant Energy Herd!! We couldn’t be where we are without wonderful customers like yourselves. And in return, we’re here for you – before, during, and after your Climate-Friendly Home Upgrade.