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  Heat Pump Problems - Common Causes And Solutions  

A heat pump is a device that cools and heats your home all in one unit. Every now and then, something can go wrong with one. Keep reading to learn about common heat pump problems and what solutions there may be.

Heat Pump Problems:

Not enough heat is being produced: For the heat pump to work correctly, there needs to be adequate air flow. Check the filter for dirt, and also check all the room air intake registers to make sure they are open. If the filter is getting dirty, you will need to clean it more often.

Heat Pump Makes Unusual Noises: A heat pump generally is fairly quite. Excess noise, like rattling, can be caused by loose bolts, belts, or screws. This can be remedied by securing the belts or tightening screws, etc.

Loud banging and scraping noises on an indoor unit could be caused by a bad blower fan. This will require a professional to fix it. An outdoor unit could have ice on the fan. Either way, don't let this problem continue as it can lead to more expensive damage.

Ice on the heat pump coils: There are a few reasons why this heat pump problem would happen.

A heat pump keeps its outdoor coils at a low temperature. This can cause ice to form if there is enough air moisture outside. A heat pump goes into a defrost cycle in order to melt this ice. If this fails, the defrost cycle is probably failing.

Other causes can be due to bad air flow from dirty filters or a freon leak.

Heat Pump Does Not Work At All: This usually happens when the power supply fails. First check the circuit breakers (or fuse box) that correspond to your heat pump system. Even if they appear to not have been tripped, it might be a good idea to reset them by turning them off and on again. If you do have power, push the reset button for the motor. Also, make sure power has not been accidentally turned off by a power switch elsewhere in the location of the heat pump.

Check your thermostat; was the heat turned down? Is it seat to "heat"? The solution could be a simple as this.

Thermostat auxiliary light is on too much: It is normal for the auxiliary heat light to be on and off intermittently. It is simply telling you that backup coils are being energized. If your heat pump is going through a defrost cycle, or if your home's temperature falls by a few degrees, backup heat will be provided and the light goes on. However, if the light is on a lot more all of the sudden, it could indicate the outdoor unit is not working correctly.

Pressure is too high or too low: Another common cause of heat pump problems is a defective evaporator and/or compressor. This would lead to low head pressure. Alternately, if head pressure is too high, it can be caused by a condenser that has become contaminated and over consumption of refrigerant.

Consistent heat pump maintenance is the best way to make sure you keep the system running efficiently and extend the life of the unit. You can spend money and hire a HVAC professional or you can attempt some things yourself.

Heat Pump Maintenance

  • Your first step should be to read your heat pump manual before attempting any maintenance of your own. You should inspect and clean all the components of the heating system, including the coils and case cover. Make sure things are not full of dirt and debris in general.
  • Clean the pump filter regularly. Instructions on how to do this properly should be in the instruction manual. Be sure to turn off power to the unit first and use a vacuum to eliminate debris. If that is not sufficient and you have a removable filter, you can rinse the filter with warm water (make sure it's dry before re-inserting). If things are really dirty, you can hire a professional to do the cleaning.
  • For an outdoor unit, get rid of anything that has built up on or around the unit. Clean the heat exchange coil and use a vacuum if necessary.


Check out Amazon offerings below to help you troubleshoot your heat pump or shop for heat pump products.

If you have questions about your heat pump problems, you can usually get free information from the company that installed it. Be careful not to attempt any major repairs on your own as you might void the heat pump warranty! Sometimes it pays to either call a professional for repair or even to just simply buy a new heat pump if the issues it is having are severe and costly enough. Visit the home page for information on heat pump prices.


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