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What’s Wrong With my Heat Pump?

What’s Wrong With my Heat Pump?

  • Air Conditioning
  • Heating
heat pump maintenance by King Air in Texas

A heat pump is a lot like your furnace or AC, but it doesn’t produce hot or cold air. Instead, it moves thermal energy in or out of your home to keep your home comfortable. Unsurprisingly, heat pumps can run into a variety of problems that’ll need fixing. You can fix a good amount of these problems by yourself if you know what you’re doing. If something goes wrong, here’s a quick list of problems you might have and how to fix them:


The heat pump won’t run:


  1. Check to see if the thermostat is on the proper setting and set to the temperature you want.
  2. Make sure the heat pump is getting power. The circuit breakers might have tripped and need to be reset. However, if it trips again, there’s likely a short in the system. In that case, you’ll need an electrician to fix it.
  3. Make sure the power switch is on if it’s connected to one. Give it a few minutes after turning it on for the air handler to turn on.
  4. If your heat pump has electrical elements, your fuse box’s circuit breakers or fuses may need fixing or replacing.


The heat pump isn’t heating or cooling right:


  • Make sure your heat pump isn’t in a defrost mode. When in defrost mode, it produces cold air. In addition, heat pumps work harder to produce heat in defrost mode or when it’s particularly cold outside.


  1. Look at the thermostat and see if it’s at the right temperature. Raise the set temperature a few degrees and wait a few minutes.
  2. Make sure the room-heating registers are open.
  3. Check the heat pump’s filter and clean it if necessary.
  4. Check the auxiliary heating elements if your heat pump has them.
  5. Clean the coils in the outdoor condensing unit.


If none of these steps work, call a heat pump technician.


The heat pump freezes up or trips the circuit breaker:


  • In very cold weather, heat pumps may ice up. Fortunately, it’ll go into periodical defrost cycles to melt the ice. If the defrost cycle isn’t helping, turn the condenser off.
  • Ensure the return-air registers are clear and check to see if the filter is also clear.
  • If there doesn’t seem to be an air flow problem, call a professional.
  • If your circuit breaker gets tripped, keep in mind that most heat pumps have auxiliary heating elements that start up when the temperature outside gets to about 20° F. These might draw too much power and trip the circuit breaker. If that happens, just reset it.


The heat pump blower doesn’t work:


This can be caused by either the thermostat mounted on the wall or the limit switch located on the heat pump. The limit switch is shuts off the heat pump if the air in the plenum gets too hot.


  • Check the thermostat to see if the Fan switch is on. If so, turn it to Off or Auto. If its already on Off or Auto, you’ll have to check the limit switch.
  • Call a technician to make the repair. Alternatively, if you’re handy, follow the instructions in your owner’s manual and reset the pointers on the fan side of the limit control. The lower one should be set to about 90° F and the upper one should be about 115° F.
  • If the motor runs but the blower isn’t moving air, you’ll probably have to replace the belt that connects the two. If you’re not confident in replacing it yourself, call a technician.


The heat pump cycles incorrectly:


  • If your heat pump is turning on and off too frequently, the problem might be a clogged filter or blower. Try cleaning or replacing them.
  • If that doesn’t work, check the thermostat. It might be improperly calibrated or be installed somewhere where it can’t sense a proper sampling of room air. If you’ve had the thermostat in the same area for a while, the latter issue isn’t the problem.
  • If the room temperature goes above or below the temperature set on the thermostat, the problem might be the thermostat’s heat anticipator. Call a technician if that doesn’t help.


The heat pump is making noises:


  • Squealing and grinding sounds mean the motor’s bearings are likely shot. Shut the heat pump down and call a technician.
  • Rattling noises are usually a sign of loose cover screws that need to be tightened. Rattling might also be a sign of rattling ductwork or loose parts in the air handler. To shot the ductwork from rattling, you can have a heating contractor install flexible insulation ductwork between the heat pump and ductwork runs.
  • Pinging and popping noises from the ductwork is a sign of thermal expansion or air blowing past a loose flap of metal. Find where in the duct the noise is coming from and make a small dent in the sheet metal to give it a more rigid surface that’s less likely to move as it heats and cools.


Why should King Air be the one to help me with my heat pump?

King Air Conditioning & Heating has proudly served customers in the Dallas Metro area for over 30 years. Our expert HVAC techs offer the highest level of customer service and a 100% satisfaction guarantee. When you schedule with King Air, you can’t lose. Call us today if you need help with your heating or air conditioning!

By Brian Renadette

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