Is Your Heat Pump Having Trouble? Common Issues and Possible Causes

Published on: February 7, 2015
HVAC unit | AC Southeast®

Heat pumps are popular throughout the Southeast for cooling and heating residential structures. They’re efficient and can handle most cold snaps that hit this part of the country. However, they do on occasion have problems.

Here are a few of the more common heat pump issues and their possible causes:

  • The heat pump isn’t working. A heat pump requires electricity to run, so make sure the breakers are set. If the breakers aren’t a problem, check the thermostat and make sure it’s not turn
  • It’s making a strange noise. Heat pumps make noises, like humming, buzzing or pressure releases. If you start start hearing banging, clanging or scraping noises, something’s wrong. Turn the unit off immediately and call an HVAC contractor.
  • Ice is building up on the outside unit. It’s quite normal for frost to develop on the outside unit when it’s in heating mode. Any humidity in the air will freeze and start layering on the outside coils and fins. Every 90 minutes or so, the unit will go into defrost mode to get rid of the ice buildup. If the unit never seems to lose the frost, or it’s getting thicker, have a professional check the defrost cycle.
  • There’s steam coming up from the outside unit. This is normal. When the heat pump goes into defrost mode, it will turn the frost buildup into vapor.
  • The emergency heat is on all the time. A heat pump has auxiliary heat coils to help the unit deal with serious cold snaps. The emergency heat will go on and off as needed when the outdoor temperature reaches around freezing or below. If you’re seeing it come on quite often, or during moderate weather, there may be trouble with the heat pump’s heating cycle. Have a professional check it.

If you’re experiencing any of these heat pump issues, we can help. Contact us at AirConditioningSouthEast.com to find a contractor in your area.