If you're a homeowner in the Cleveland area with a heat pump, you may occasionally experience heat pump temperature problems. For example, you've set your thermostat to 72, but the temperature never rises past 70. Sometimes you may be able to fix the problem yourself. Other times the cause is mechanical and will require the services of a technician.
Heat pump temperature problems are more common in winter. Ice, snow drifts or masses of dead leaves can block airflow to your outdoor unit, for example. Removing snow or leaves from the unit may clear up the problem. Ice may be trickier to deal with and is usually best left to the professionals. If you decide to remove ice yourself, exercise caution to prevent damaging the heat pump. The accumulation of frost on your outside unit is usually a normal event. The heat pump is designed to shed the accumulated frost in what is called the defrost cycle- much like your frost-free refrigerator. However if it doesn't ever seem to do so, it might be time to have the unit checked. You also might check all your air vents connected to your system's ductwork to make sure they're open and not blocked.
Heat pump temperature problems also might be caused by outdoor temperatures. Air-source heat pumps extract heat from the air outdoors and move it indoors. When the outside temperature gets very cold, your heat pump begins to run less efficiently, and your system's backup heating source should kick in. But sometimes there's a gap between when the backup heat source kicks in and when the heat pump can warm your home according to your exact settings at the thermostat. Your heating contractor can usually adjust the setting on your heat pump to close this gap.
If you've eliminated those causes, it's time to call a professional. Other potential causes for heat pump temperature problems that should be diagnosed and addressed by a technician:
- Low refrigerant or faulty refrigerant monitoring equipment.
- Bad compressor or reversing valve.
- Thermostat is faulty or needs calibrating. (Be sure to read our post on choosing a setback thermostat for your heating system. Some programmable thermostats are specially designed to work with heat pumps.)
- System needs to be cleaned.
If you have heat pump questions, contact us at P.K. Wadsworth Heating & Cooling. We're always happy to help.Photo Credit: markhnichols