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Heat Pump Acting Up? Troubleshooting Tips to Help Fix or Diagnose

Published on: March 24, 2014

Heat pumps are effective and relatively affordable heating and cooling systems for homeowners in the Southeast U.S. However, like any other machine, efficiency and performance decline or stop altogether when systems fall into disrepair. If your system is acting up, use these heat pump troubleshooting tips to help identify the issue.

What to Check When Your Heat Pump Isn’t Working

  • Not operating – First, check the thermostat to make sure the correct mode (heating or cooling cycle) is selected, and that the temperature setting is a few degrees above or below the current room temperature. Next, check the circuit panel for a tripped breaker or blown fuse. Your system may also have circuits inside the air-handling cabinet.
  • Irregular heating or cooling – A dirty air filter creates havoc for heat pump operation, resulting in deficient heating or cooling. If the filter is dirty, clean or replace it. Check the supply vents and registers to make sure there are no obstructions, such as furniture, toys, rugs and drapes. If one or more supply registers has considerably less air pressure, you may have an issue with disconnected, blocked or leaky air ducts.
  • Coil freezes up – The outdoor and indoor coils are susceptible to freezing up during heating and cooling months, respectively. In both cases, ice accumulation on coils is probably not caused by outside or inside air temperature, but more likely an airflow restriction or component malfunction. Check the air filter and replace it if dirty. Check the outside cabinet for obstructions to free airflow, such as snow and/or ice accumulation, leaves, debris or other obstruction. If the issue is not obstructed airflow, call your HVAC professional.
  • Blower not working – Check that the thermostat is set to heating cycle, and that the fan is set to “Auto.” Another reason the blower may not be working is actually a safety feature. The limit switch turns off the blower when the temperature inside the system gets too hot. Let the system sit idle for a while, and turn the switch back on.

If you need help with these heat pump troubleshooting tips, please connect with us to speak with a licensed HVAC contractor near your Southeast U.S. home.