When frigid temperatures strike the greater Cleveland area, it's important to be prepared. If you're having a heating issue, try these heat pump troubleshooting tips for a quick solution before calling your HVAC pro.
Power interruptions are quite common and may occur to the heat pump system, the thermostat or both. When the temperature dips below the balance point, typically around the freezing mark, the backup electric resistance heater powers on, which puts a sudden power drain on the circuits. If your heat pump or thermostat does not have power, check the following:
- Take a look at the circuit or fuse box for a tripped breaker or blown fuse.
- If power was disrupted to your entire home in cold weather, your heat pump may need to be reset from emergency or auxiliary setting after the heat pump has been idle for six hours. Check your thermostat to make sure that "normal settings" are displayed.
- If you have recently installed a new thermostat, there could be an issue with incorrect contacts or a contact that has come loose. (Many homeowners are opting for do-it-yourself "upgraded" thermostats these days. Be very careful that your new unit is compatible with your existing heat pump system—sometimes there are incompatibilities that are not evident or even understood by the new thermostat's manufacturer.)
- After a power outage, it may be necessary to "re-boot" your system by turning it off and back on again, much like your smart phone or computer.
- Unknown to many homeowners, especially if they are new to a home, many thermostats run on back up batteries. Always check your thermostat for some indication of the this problem. Often it will display "batt" when the batteries are low.
Temperature and Airflow
There are a number of issues that can disrupt temperature and airflow. Follow these heat pump troubleshooting tips in order:
- Make sure the thermostat is in heating cycle, and the set point is above room temperature by five degrees.
- Make sure all supply outlets are open and not blocked by furniture or drapes. Low airflow from an outlet indicates a disconnected duct run. If it's accessible, you may reconnect it and wrap it using metal tape (or any tape you have handy as a temporary quick-fix).
- Check the air filter. A clogged air filter can restrict airflow to the point of damaging the heating and cooling system. Standard filters ought to be replaced every 1-3 months. Some high end filters can last 6-12 months. Ask your HVAC pro how often your filter ought to be replaced.
- Check the outside unit for ice accumulation on the condenser coil, top of unit, the sides or an accumulation under the unit. If there is ice, power off the heat pump and use a garden hose to defrost the ice. Ice is a sign of problems like a clogged filter, incorrect refrigerant, faulty electrical components and/or defrost cycle. Call your HVAC pro for assistance.
If you would like more information regarding heat pump troubleshooting in your greater Cleveland home, please contact P.K. Wadsworth Heating & Cooling today.Follow @PKwadsworth
Paul Wadsworth is the President and Owner of P.K. Wadsworth Heating and Cooling. For 37 years, Paul has been providing heating and cooling services to the Greater Cleveland area. P.K. Wadsworth has been a trusted Cleveland HVAC service company for over 75 years. The company understand the area's construction and local heating and air conditioning needs. Paul has an MBA from the University of Michigan and a B.S., Industrial Engineering from Purdue University. Paul is the Chairman of COSE's Energy Advisory Council. He's been President of the Cleveland Air Conditioning Contractors of America and a founding member of the local chapter. Paul was born and raised in Cleveland and has been active in the local community. He resides in Cleveland, Ohio with his wife and two sons.
The opinions and statements contained in this article are for general informational purposes only and are not instructions. Only trained, licensed and experienced personnel should attempt installation/repair. The author assumes no liability for the opinions/statements made in this article. Any individual attempting a repair or installation based on this article does so at their own risk of loss.