5 Common Heat Pump Problems You Need to Know

heat pump problems

Heat pumps are the energy-efficient alternative for heating and cooling the room. They transfer heat from one place to another, which means they use less energy than the machines that produce heat instead.

They’re quite reliable too, but what happens if you encounter heat pump problems?

If you take good care of them, you won’t get too many issues. But it’s not unheard of for a heat pump to encounter a technical problem.

Some of these issues you can solve yourself; some, you should leave for HVAC professionals. Keep on reading to see the five common problems you should look out for and what to do with them.

1. No Warm Air

Is your heat pump not running? Don’t fret too much yet; more often than not, the issue is that it’s not receiving power. 

Look at your thermostat; is it set to the correct setting? Make sure it’s set to heat and the heat pump is on. 

Another issue with the thermostat is if it has improper wiring. It’s often the issue with new thermostats; you or the technician may not have wired it properly.

This mistake fries up the electrical components within. Frayed wires around the unit may also be the issue. 

It’s also possible that the thermostat is not the right type. Make sure to buy a model that’s made for heat pumps.

Check your circuit breaker box as well. It may have tripped, which explains the lack of power going to the heat pump. If that’s the case, resetting the circuit breaker should fix the issue.

If none of these seems to be the issue or you’re dealing with frayed wires, you’ll have to call an HVAC professional.

2. Blowing Cold Air

Cold air coming from your unit can be due to an issue with the refrigerant charge, compressor, or valve. 

Before you check though, make sure your unit is set to the correct mode. Someone may have changed it to A/C mode or it’s gone into that mode because it’s detected frost.

If it’s for defrosting the unit, which makes it pump heated air to the outdoor unit to unfreeze it, you can simply wait until it’s over. The defrost cycle often only runs for 10 to 15 minutes.

If it doesn’t stop though, or if you’re sure the A/C mode isn’t on, consider the other possibilities first before worrying.

When was the last time you’ve had your unit cleaned and maintained? It’s possible it only needs cleaning and servicing.

The coils get dirty over time, preventing it from releasing heat. Debris like grass, leaves, and such can also impede the airflow. 

The issue may also lie in the thermostat. Try to check by setting it to emergency heat.

If your unit starts blowing warm air after that, you have an issue with the outdoor unit. Otherwise, the problem may be in the thermostat or the air handler.

3. Insufficient Heating

Your heat pump is running and it’s not blowing cool air, but why does the room still feel cool? That’s because your unit isn’t running efficiently, which can be due to several issues.

For instance, the air ducts might have built-up dirt or something else that’s blocking the airflow. In that case, the heat pump isn’t transferring enough warm air into the room.

The problem might also be a dirty air filter, which also reduces the airflow. Air filters need changing at least once every three months or according to the manufacturer’s instructions. 

You can change it more often than that, especially if usage is high and your filters get dirty easily. Check your filter once a month and change it if it looks dirty, even if it still hasn’t been three months yet.

On that note, inspect all the other parts of your heat pump too. Any dirty parts can lead to inefficient operation. Pay attention to the outdoor coils, supply and return registers, and fan.

Make sure nothing blocks these parts of your unit. Drapes or furniture could be blocking the registers. Clear the clutter and debris around your outdoor unit, clean the outdoor coils, and clean the fan once in a while.

4. Weird Noises

It’s natural for heat pumps to produce noise; you might even say they’re the loudest machines in your home right now. However, you’ll know when its noise doesn’t sound right anymore.

You can describe its noise as humming for the most part. So when you hear rattling, grinding, screeching, squealing, then something’s wrong.

A loose fan belt, for example, can cause flapping noises. Other loose parts can cause the rattling sounds, while bubbling sounds may be due to a refrigerant leak.

Whatever it is, make sure it isn’t due to loose cover panels. You can fix this by screwing them tight.

Otherwise, you might be dealing with more serious heat pump problems. So you’ll have to turn your unit off and wait for a professional to diagnose the problem.

5. Odd Smells

Another sense you should exercise is your sense of smell. It can tell you when something’s wrong with your heat pump if you’re smelling something musty or rotting.

A musty smell indicates the growth of mold in your unit. Not only is it detrimental to your heat pump, but it is to your health as well, so it’s worth looking into.

A rotting smell may mean that an animal has managed to enter your unit and died there. You may need to get a professional to find the animal’s carcass.

Aside from these concerns, a burning smell is something far more serious. It might indicate a problem with your heat pump’s electrical wires or there may be something burning.

This is dangerous, so you must turn off your heat pump immediately after smelling it. Wait until a professional fixes the problem and gives you the green light before you turn it back on.

Don’t Wait to Fix Your Heat Pump Problems

As you can surmise from these issues, some heat pump problems are so serious that they need immediate attention, lest you put you, your family, and your house in danger.

If there’s an issue with your unit, call a professional right away to look into it.

Contact us and we’ll get to fixing your problem at once.

John Daner

John Daner

HVAC Technician with 12+ years in the field.