It pays to be familiar with the basic workings of your heat pump system. When your heat pump is acting up, you'll be able to apply heat pump troubleshooting tips and better discern which course of action to take regarding a simple fix, a repair call or upgrading an aging system.
Basic Heat Pump Troubleshooting and Operation
Heat pumps are sophisticated systems that need free airflow to drive efficient refrigerant heat exchange. The following are the primary elements of heat pump operation and troubleshooting:
- Electronics - If your heat pump has no power, check the circuit panel for a tripped breaker.
- Airflow - Clean or replace the air filter as needed. Check the indoor air vents and grilles for obstructions. Check the outdoor cabinet for obstructions, such as weeds, debris, leaves, bins and snow and ice during the heating months. This is an essential homeowner task, you can pay the professionals to address this too, but this is an easy do-it-yourself project.
- Refrigeration - Poor airflow, incorrect refrigerant charge and electrical problems can cause ice accumulation on the indoor coil during the cooling months. Run the heat pump in "fan" or "heat" mode to defrost the ice. If the ice returns, call your HVAC contractor.
Quick Fix, Repair or Replace?
If the heat pump issue is a quick fix, such as a tripped breaker, obstructed air vent or low batteries in the thermostat, there should be little problem getting your Cleveland area home back to comfortable temperatures. However, if these problems persist it would be advisable to contact your HVAC provider as these could be indications of some larger, underlying concerns.
If you're facing a repair, consider the age of the system, the cost of the repair and long-term energy savings to help you decide if replacing the system is more cost effective. If the heat pump is more than 10 years old, upgrading may be the way to go. If the cost of the repair is more than half the cost of a new system, a system upgrade, again, is a wise and cost-effective option to take.
Keep in mind that a new heat pump can be paired with your furnace for an energy-efficient dual-fuel heating system, which will ensure your system always utilizes the most efficient fuel source, whether that be gas or electric. If you are currently using electric resistance heating, the addition of a heat pump can cut your cost of heating by half or more in many cases. This is especially true if you are one of the greater Cleveland families that have lost your preferential all electric utility rate.
If you have any questions about heat pump troubleshooting and operation, contact P.K. Wadsworth Heating & Cooling for an honest evaluation of your system and options.