Heat Pump Not Working – Most Common Issues & Fixes

heat pump

No one really pays attention to the heat pump during the hot season, but as the weather starts chilling down, chances are you will immediately notice potential issues. Heat pump problems can be quite diversified and some of them have easy and quick fixes. Some others are more complicated and may require consulting the heat pump troubleshooting guide.

All in all, a heat pump not working is completely worthless. Heat pump repairs can often be done in the comfort of your home, without seeking help from a professional. All in all, here are the most common issues, as well as the easiest heat pump repairs to try out.


Heat Pump Not Working – How About The Blower Or Fan?

heat pump with air

As the temperature goes down, check the thermostat and adjust the room temperature. Second later, you should be able to hear the fan motor turn on. It is the first indicator of a working pump, but what if silence takes over? The first step involves ensuring the heat pump actually gets some power. Double check the thermostat – open the case or remove the unit, then look at the wires. Is everything alright? Can you see any loose wires?

If the thermostat batteries or contacts are within the casing in the wall, make sure it is firmly attached. The contact might be nonexistent if you accidentally touch it. It may also be worth changing the batteries. If you have not used it in ages, they might be dead.

Further on, move on to your fuse box. Can you see the circuit breaker tripped? If it is, you might have blown a fuse. If you notice the circuit breaker is off, turn it back on to reset everything. If it trips again, you obviously have a short somewhere in your system. Unless you know what you are doing, you should call an electrician to fix the issue – electrocuting yourself can be harmful and even fatal.

However, if you can hear the fan running, the problem is somewhere else. Some units come with an emergency feature. If your heat pump has emergency heat, use it. It is pointless raising the temperature by one or two degrees. Go for five or 10 degrees instead. Warm air should come out in a more obvious way. If you can sense warm air, the problem is in the outside unit.


Heat Pump System Troubleshooting – Checking For Heat

Before moving on with these checkups, you need to make sure you have power. Also, double check the vents in each room – if they are closed, open them. Go to your thermostat and set the temperature higher – anywhere between five and 10 degrees. Move around the vents to sense air coming.

Changing the temperature depends on what kind of thermostat you have. If it is a digital unit, you should set it about three degrees above the current temperature. If you push it too high, you might end up accidentally triggering other electric elements – not helpful when trying to troubleshoot the heat pump.

Overheating is the main cause of a heat pump that goes on and off all the time – a problematic blower, a thermostat with issues or a clogged filter. Replace the air filter – if the problem persists, call a technician.

If you get warm air in some rooms, while others get nothing, chances are there is an obstruction. It is usually dirt and debris – try getting access to the duct work, find the blockage and clear it.

How about unusual noises in the heating system? The solution depends on the types of noises. If they sound like grinding or squealing you have to shut the system down and reach to a heat pump repair technician. This is not an easy fix and it should not be a DIY project, as it tends to affect the motor bearings. On the other hand, if you can hear rattling noises, make sure all the panels are tightly screwed on.


Heat Pump Troubleshooting – Heat Pump Problems Caused By The Outside Unit

An air conditioning system has more parts and each of them could be the issue. If none of the above ideas works, consider checking the HVAC system. Turn the emergency heat off and set the thermostat to a normal temperature.


Go outside and get rid of all the debris, dirt and leaves around the outside unit – especially in the exhaust vents. Grass can get stuck in the fins. In fact, it helps hosing the unit to get rid of everything. Even better, you could opt for yearly servicing for maintenance. The heat pump maintenance is not to be overlooked either. While some issues may seem irrelevant now, they will only aggravate and can lead to expensive repairs later on.

Do you have screen mesh? Is it covering the pipes? Even if it only blocks one of them, it is more than enough to restrict the airflow. In this case, you should replace the mesh. If you already have snow and one of the pipes is entirely covered in ice, avoid doing everything yourself – call a technician instead.

Frequently Asked Questions

As you can see, a heat pump not working becomes useless. Some issues can be fixed without too much hassle – mostly a matter of maintenance. Some others require professional help.


What could cause a heat pump to stop working?

There are more causes associated with a heat pump not working. Some of them are related to the thermostat, while others affect the starter capacitor – chances are it is broken. Power loss is also a common cause, as well as a broken reversing valve. A blocked unit or a dirty filter are more common issues though and can be handled without seeking professional help.


How do you reset your heat pump?

The first step implies turning the thermostat off. Second, turn the power switch to the heat pump off. Third, do the same for the electrical breakers for your pump. Give your system about five minutes, then turn everything back on – in reverse order. Doing it in the wrong order could cause more trouble.


What goes wrong with heat pumps?

The truth is heat pumps tend to last, but there are other parts of your system that may affect their functionality. Of course, a poor quality heat pump may also face issues itself.


Why is my heat pump not blowing cold air?

Make sure the air filter is clean. If it is, check the refrigerant charge too – it might be off. These are the two most common issues for this problem.


As a short final conclusion, there is not too much to be concerned about with a heat pump not working. It is hard to tell what the problem is, so you will need to check various elements of your system in order to identify the culprit.

Some things can be fixed with nothing but maintenance – a bit of cleaning, some new batteries and so on. Some others are more sophisticated and could do with professional help. Unless you know what you are doing, it may not be worth trying to fix sophisticated problems yourself.

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