Heat Pump Issues that Could Require Service Calls

5 Common Heat Pump Problems that May Require a Service Call  As you consider buying a heat pump, you may want to know what can go wrong.

Here are 5 common problems that may require a service call. We use the term “common” but the good news is that most heat pumps from the major brands are very well built. Breakdowns really aren’t all that common and you probably won’t have consistent reason to call in a heat pump contractor.

Five Most Common Heat Pump Problems

No Power: The heat pump should be on and nothing is happening. You check to make sure the thermostat is on and set to the right temperature. But still nothing. What’s happening? Probably nothing major, but determining what it is can be tricky. You should check the breaker at the circuit box and the breaker outside your home near the condensing unit. If those are on, it could be a burned out wire, failed connector or transformer, a defective capacitor or several other things. Service technicians have a checklist that usually leads them to the problem quickly.

No Heat: The culprit could be something as simple as a faulty thermostat or a failed temperature sensor. Or it may be something more complex like a bad circuit board or worst of all, a bad compressor. Tracking the trouble can be very difficult for a homeowner. A heat pump professional should be able to diagnosis the issue fairly quickly.

Insufficient Heat: Heat pumps work very well in cool weather, but their effectiveness starts to diminish when temperatures fall into the lower 30s and below. If you set your thermostat for 72 degrees in very cold weather, but the unit is struggling to get it to 70 degrees, you may have one of two problems.

  • First, the unit may be undersized. Did the contractor do a Manual J load calculation before recommending a system for your home? If so, size is probably not the problem.
  • Second, it may be that your heat pump needs more auxiliary heat. Most air handlers are equipped with heat strips that are like space heaters in the air handler and are used to help keep your home warm when temperatures are unseasonably cold.

If the system is undersized and it is the first winter of operation, the HVAC contractor should be responsible for replacing it with a larger unit. If severe cold is the issue, you may need more auxiliary heat.

Noisy Operation: Like with a car, over time, things inside the heat pump or air handler can begin to rattle, grind or vibrate. The most common causes include loose nuts, fittings or connectors. Or the bearing on the blower motor could be shot. Again, the HVAC technician should be able to identify the problem and resolve it very quickly.

Freezing of the Heat Pump: Heat pumps create very cold temperature when cooling and if they aren’t properly regulated, they can freeze up. Turning them off to let them thaw for 5-15 minutes will relieve the immediate issue, but fixing it long-term is the goal. This situation often results from a dirty air filter which leads to the unit frosting up and eventually freezing.

Diagnosing the issue can be tough for a homeowners, but not for a trained HVAC pro. Give them a call if any problem arises that is hard to find or doesn’t have a solution you can handle.

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