If your home is heated and cooled with a heat pump, you need to make sure that equipment is operating properly. After all, your heat pump is responsible for keeping your home comfortable in the summer and in the winter. To that end, here's a look at three common heat pump problems and how to solve them.
The outdoor unit is icing over.
Some ice buildup on your heat pump is normal; the pump will go through a defrost cycle to melt it. You may notice vapor emanating or water dripping from your outdoor unit. However, if you notice a thick layer of ice and think the unit isn't defrosting, you need to take action to prevent ice damage to the fan blades and compressor.
If there are piles of snow blocking the unit, clear them away. Make sure water isn't dripping onto the heat pump from a leaking gutter. If this doesn't fix the problem, call your HVAC technician. Chances are, your heat pump is low in refrigerant or the outdoor fan is broken, causing the unit to super-cool and build up ice.
The heat pump is running constantly.
The pump should cycle on and off as it heats and cools your home. If it's very cold out, the heat pump usually is running almost constantly to keep up. But if it's warmer (above 30) and the pump is running constantly, this is a problem. Your heat pump might be leaking refrigerant or the connection with your thermostat may be faulty. If you notice that the heat pump is not running, it could be in the defrost mode mentioned above. If the continues for more than an a couple of hours, it likely means there is a problem and it is time to call your HVAC pro.
The heat pump is blowing out cold air in the winter.
First, check to make sure you did not accidentally switch your heat pump into air conditioning mode. If it's indeed in the wrong mode and is blowing cold air, there may be a problem with the compressor or one of the valves. These are issues best diagnosed and fixed by a professional.
If you have a problem with your heat pump, you can put the unit into emergency heat mode. this engages the electric resistance heat that works with you heat pump as a backup. In this case you are heating you home solely with the electric resistance heat. this will help maintain comfort but is up to twice as expensive to run than your heat pump system, so it is best to get the heat pump back on line ASAP.
Most common problems with heat pumps can be fixed quickly and easily by a qualified HVAC technician. If your heat pump starts acting strange or isn't heating your home sufficiently, contact the experts at P.K. Wadsworth Heating and Cooling.