Heat pump problems not only make the interior of your house uncomfortable, but it causes the entire heating system to waste energy as it tries to compensate for an efficiency loss. Some of the problems are technical issues, which require an expert hand, while others are easy to solve on your own. When you understand the most common heat pump problems, you save yourself time, energy and money.
Not Enough Heat
The biggest complaint HVAC companies get about heat pumps is that they aren’t producing as much heat as the homeowner expects. This can be caused by a variety of reasons:
Cold Air: Unfortunately, when the temperature outside drops too low, your heat pump is not able to keep up. This is most common when the temperature gets below 35 degrees. At that temperature, the auxiliary heat systems come to assist the heat pump, but they shut off before the interior temperature reaches the desired level. This is not a problem with the pump itself, and the easiest way to remedy the situation is to adjust the interior thermostat up a few degrees to trick the system into operating long enough to get the home warm.
Refrigerant: Over time the refrigerant in your heat pump becomes ineffective and must be recharged. You’ll notice that this is a problem if the pump gradually loses its effectiveness. The only way to solve this issue is with a certified repair company.
Ice: The outdoor unit will generate ice through heat transfer. If the unit consistently has a thick layer of ice, it is indicative of an issue with the defrost cycle. Start by clearing the ice by hand, and if the problem persists, make a service call.
Frequent Switching To Emergency Heat
This happens when the auxiliary heating systems come on to support the heat pump. It could be that the temperature is too low, or it could be a sign of trouble with the outdoor portion of the heat pump. Check the outdoor unit for snow or debris accumulation, clear the vents and make sure all of the breakers are operating properly. Once these things are checked, if the unit still uses more emergency power than usual, you need professional help.
Loud noises, especially scrapping sounds, happen when there is probably a mechanical breakdown inside the unit. During snowy weather, the sounds may be caused by ice near the blades, so you can wait until the ice melts before making a service call. In all other cases, you need to shut down the outdoor unit at the breaker box and call a professional, so you don’t further damage the unit.
If the unit seems completely unresponsive, meaning there is no movement or normal operating sounds, it might be time to replace the system. Before calling a service company, inspect all of the breakers and electrical connections. Then make sure all of the switches have been cut off. It’s not uncommon during cold weather for the system to trip a weak breaker. If all of the electrical connections are in working order, and the machine is still unresponsive, you will need to call a professional.
Regular maintenance on your unit prevents many of the most common heat pump problems by fixing potential issues before they get out of hand. For nearly 50 years R&D Indoor Comfort has offered homeowners exceptional service through new installations, repairs and preventative maintenance. Contact us today for an estimate or to discuss your HVAC needs.