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Subscribe to our RSS Feed Heat Pump Issues Have You Frustrated? Troubleshooting Help for 5 Common Problems

Sunday, February 01, 2015

Heat pumps work in a way that may seem a bit counter-intuitive: heating and cooling by moving heat in and out of the house via refrigerant. If you haven't had yours for long, you may not be all that familiar with the seemingly mysterious way heat pumps work, nor the heat pump issues that can arise. Following is a summary of some of those issues and what to do about them.

Troubleshooting Common Heat Pump Problems

  1. Heat pump doesn't seem to be on - First, check the breaker and reset if needed. Next, check the power switch. If it's neither one of these, call your trusted HVAC pro.
  2. Heat pump is making odd noises - Humming and buzzing are normal, but if you hear loud noises, such as banging or clattering, scraping or vibrating either outdoors or indoors, you may have a broken or off-balance fan blade. In the summer, turn the thermostat to "off." In the winter, turn to "emergency heat.
  3. Steam is noticeable from the outdoor unit - If you see what looks like steam arising from the outdoor unit while the heat pump is in defrost mode, it's most likely just ice evaporating from the condenser coil. It's normal.
  4. Ice is encasing the heat pump - While a little frost on the outside condenser coil is normal, there's something wrong if the heat pump becomes enveloped in ice. If the system isn't defrosting, the malfunction may lie with the defrost sensor or thermostat, the fan motor or the reversing valve. There might also be a refrigerant imbalance.
  5. Auxiliary light is on - This light should come on while the unit is in defrost mode because it's actually in the cooling cycle, and your home needs auxiliary heat while this process is going on. Auxiliary heat will also come on when it's exceptionally cold, so if the weather is mild and the light is on for a long time, there may be a malfunction.

To discuss your heat pump issues, or for other home comfort concerns, contact Comfort to find an HVAC provider in the Chicagoland, northwest Indiana or southwest Michigan areas.

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