In no time, people in cold climates will be getting ready for wintertime. That means taking the jackets out of your closets, getting your boots ready, and making sure your heat pump is working. When doing this checkup, you might find some issues with your heating system. Don’t panic. In this article, we will tell you how to troubleshoot a heat pump Remember that in some cases, you can do this alone. But when there is critical damage, you’ll have to call an HVAC expert.

Not having a warm airflow during winter could be a complete nightmare. But to help you avoid this situation, we have created a complete guide to heat pump troubleshooting that is easy to follow. However, before we talk about the possible issues with your heating system, we need to do a quick review of how this appliance works.

How does a heat pump work?

Even though most homeowners choose to have a furnace, there are some cases in which heat pumps might work better. A heat pump is a part of your HVAC system, and it is responsible for providing heat during the coldest months of the year. Make sure you are buying the best HVAC system like Costco, Trane, or Rheem. But, this device also offers cool air during the summer. Since this device accomplishes two tasks throughout the year, we know that some of you might be wondering, how does it work?

A heat pump is designed to be a versatile appliance that transfers heat from the outdoors during the winter. But at the same time when the weather starts warming up, it will remove all the heat from your indoor airflow and push it out. The best part about having a heat pump at home is that it doesn’t need any kind of fuel to keep working. This means you can save some money, and it is also environmentally friendly.

Because a heat pump has several components, such as the refrigerant, compressor, valves, and coils, when it starts malfunctioning, it could be due to damage to one of these parts. In the next section, we will tell you how to diagnose and fix the most common issues. But, if you feel more comfortable contacting a top HVAC provider, check here for details.

Complete Guide to Troubleshooting Heat Pumps

When something is wrong with your heat pump, the first thing you need to do is check all the basics. If you go through our guide and you still can’t find out what is happening with your heating system, it will be better to call a professional.

Troubleshooting Heat Pumps: Problems

1. The heat pump doesn’t turn on

One of the most common problems you will encounter with a heat pump is that it doesn’t turn on. However, there is no need to worry, since it will be easy to repair and, in most cases, you won’t need the help of an HVAC expert. To fix this problem, here are a few things you can try out.

  • Check your thermostat and make sure that it has enough power. If it is not working, replace the old batteries and try to turn on the heat pump again.
  • If your thermostat is working, then the problem might be the temperature setting. Check the thermostat and make sure it is placed in the heat mode and the desired temperature is higher than the room temperature. Plus, ensure that you didn’t switch it to the fan-only mode.
  • In case there is nothing wrong with the thermostat, you need to look for the on/off switch on the unit. Depending on the model you have, it can be located indoors or outdoors.
  • Take a look at the breaker box and make sure it is turned on. Sometimes the only thing you need to do is reset it.
  • If there is any damaged wiring, turn off the heat pump immediately and call a professional.

2. Heat pump freezes over

If your heat pump freezes over, there could be several causes, like poor airflow or incorrect levels of refrigerant. When this happens, here is the correct heat pump troubleshooting cycle.

  • First, you need to clean all the debris you can find in the outdoor unit and the gutters to make sure they are not spilling water over your appliance.
  • In case you live in a city where there are strong winter storms, check if there is any ice accumulation around the unit. To melt it down, use a garden hose.
  • If this doesn’t work, the problem could be your refrigerant. To fix it, call an HVAC technician.

3. Not enough warm air

There may be times in which your unit seems to be working properly, but you feel there is not enough heat production. In this case, we will advise you to follow these steps.

  • Check all the vents around your house and make sure nothing is blocking them.
  • Perform regular maintenance. That means checking that the filter is clean and replacing it in case it is clogged.
  • Finally, go to the thermostat and make sure it is set at an appropriate temperature.
  • If there is still a lack of warm air around the house, you’ll need to contact a professional to clean your coils.

4. The heat pump turns off and on

If you turn on your heat pump, and after a couple of minutes, it turns off, it might be short cycling. In this case, the only thing you need to do is make sure all the air filters are clean. That way, you’ll ensure the system is not overheating. Further, check you have the appropriate refrigerant levels.

5. The heat pump is leaking

When your heat pump is leaking liquid, it is never a good sign. That’s why you should try to fix it fast.

  • Make sure the unit is placed on a balanced surface. If not, try to add some support to the heat pump to keep it still.
  • In case it keeps leaking then, you’ll have to call a professional to check if there is a problem with the refrigerant or if the piping and valves are functioning correctly.

These are just some of the common issues you can encounter with a heat pump. But, if you want to prevent all of this, the only thing you can do is schedule regular maintenance visits every year.

Dominic Wong

Dominic Wong, holding a Master’s in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University, has 20 years of experience in the home appliance sector. He joined our website as a freelancer in 20119, sharing his deep understanding of appliance functionality, energy efficiency, and consumer trends. Previously, Dominic worked in appliance design and testing. His background also includes roles in product development and consumer research. An advocate for sustainable technology, he enjoys mountain biking and experimenting with smart home gadgets in his spare time.

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