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Friday, June 07, 2013

Heat pumps provide economical home comfort year round to many residents in the greater Chicago area. Occasionally, however, heat pump problems may strike. If this happens to you, try these solutions before calling in a professional.

Heat pump failures and fixes

Doesn’t turn on: Check thermostat's setting for desired temperature and set to "heat" or "cool," depending on the season. If replaced recently, the new thermostat could be the wrong type/wired incorrectly. Also check circuit breakers — main and any subpanels. If tripped, reset them by flipping off and on. If it trips again, there may be a short. Check for tripped/blown supplemental heating fuses, which are usually in the air handler cabinet.

Not heating/cooling: Check the thermostat setting, raising it by 5 degrees and waiting a few minutes for improvement. Remember, heat pumps don’t output air as hot as a gas furnace. Check that heating registers are open/unblocked. Check the filter and replace it if it's dirty. Check backup heating elements for functioning, and clean outdoor condensing unit coils. If these steps don't help, contact your HVAC expert.

Condenser freeze-ups: Turn unit off, checking that registers aren’t blocked or the filter clogged. Check for tripped breakers which may have happened when auxiliary power kicked on (at about 20 degrees).

Frequent cycling: Check for overheating from a clogged filter. Otherwise, you may have a blower malfunction or an improperly calibrated thermostat. If recently installed, it may be in a bad location for air sampling.

Blower not working: Check the thermostat fan switch. If on, turn off or to auto. Try adjusting the limit switch to about 90 degrees (lower pointer) and 115 degrees (upper). Check for a broken blower motor belt.

Squealing, grinding noises: Turn off unit and call your HVAC technician to replace motor bearings/troubleshoot.

Rattling noises: Check cover panels and tighten. Other possibilities include rattling ductwork or loose air handler components.

Pings, pops: These noises may be from thermal expansion or a loose metal flap. Making a small dent in the sheet metal (near sound source) may solve it.

Got heat pump problems? Expert help is on the way! Contact the pros on this website. We proudly serve homeowners in the Chicagoland area.

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