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8 Troubleshooting Steps You Can Do When Your Heat Pump is on the Fritz

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When your heat pump struggles to work, the temperature your in your home might feel wrong. Like plumbing issues, temperature fluctuations in your home are some of the most frustrating home problems. 

Your home could feel too cold in the winter or too hot in the summer. These are symptoms of heat pump issues. 

There’s no need to panic. There are things you can do to check how well your heat pump works. 

Here are eight heat pump troubleshooting tips you can do to get your heat pump working properly. 

What Is a Heat Pump?

Your home’s heat pump is a device that monitors and regulates the cooling or heating temperatures in your home.

The pump moves air in or out depending on the temperature you want. If your home is too hot, the pump moves hot air outside. If temps are cold, the pump pushes cold air out. 

You can visit the site here for more information about how a heat pump works. You’ll also learn how long a heat pump should last and if it’s time for a new one.

Before you spend the money on a new heat pump, try a few things to see if you can resolve the issue.

1. Check the Thermostat

This might seem obvious, but we should start with the basics. If your heat pump isn’t producing heat, check the setting on your thermostat. 

Be sure you’ve set it to a temperature that tells the heat pump system to circulate heat. Or if you notice it’s not cooling, be sure the thermostat is set to a temperature that tells the pump to cool. 

If you’ve confirmed the correct settings and the heat pump isn’t working, there’s more you can do. 

2. Check the Breakers and Fuses

When there’s no activity from your heat pump, it might be a power issue. 

Find your home’s circuit breaker box. Check that the breaker for the heat pump is in the “on” position. 

Look for the fuses on the unit. Replace any blown fuses. 

After the breaker is on and fuses are good, try the “reset” button on the pump. If the unit still doesn’t work, try our next suggestion. 

3. Check the Filter

A heat pump uses a filter to help clean the air circulating in and out of your home. 

A dirty filter can cause the pump to stop working. If air can’t pass through the filter, the pump won’t work. 

Clean a dirty filter with a vacuum cleaner. You can also wipe down the filter with a damp cloth. 

If the filter is too dirty to clean, buy a new one. Be sure you buy the right size for your pump. 

Put the filter back into the unit and try to run the system. 

4. Check for Debris

Like a clogged air filter, too much debris around the outdoor unit can cause the heat pump to stop working. 

Piles of leaves, dirt, or tall grass can block the airflow in and out of the unit. 

Clear away all debris from around the outdoor unit. Trim grass or shrubs that come into contact with the unit. 

5. Check for Ice

In the coldest weather temperatures, your heat pump can collect ice. This isn’t unusual. 

But your heat pump has a built-in defrost function. This should come on when ice begins to build-up on the unit. 

If your pump isn’t working, check for ice on the coils. Be sure there isn’t anything blocking the air returns. Clear any blockages and remove ice from the coils before trying to use the pump again. 

6. Check the Fan

To move air and regulate temperature, the heat pump’s fan must work properly. The fan moves air out. 

If the fan isn’t working, there could be an issue with the blower motor. A technician can replace a motor without needing an entirely new unit.

You might also have an electrical problem. 

Check for loose wires or bad connections. If you see an electrical issue, call a technician before attempting to fix it yourself. 

7. Check How Long It Runs

Does the heat pump run continuously? In the winter, this can be normal. 

In very low temperatures, the heat pump will run almost nonstop to regulate the heat in your home. Heat pumps are different from a standard furnace that shuts off when the thermostat reaches the set temperature. 

But as temps rise to mid-range 30’s-60’s, the pump shouldn’t run without stopping. 

If it keeps running, you could have a refrigerant leak. You might also have a unit that’s too small to properly regulate your home temperatures. 

With a leak, call a technician to repair the leak and replenish the refrigerant.

8. Check the Oil

Like most machines, your heat pump needs oil or lubricant for the parts to run without friction. 

Find a place on the unit labeled for “oil.” Add lubricating oil. This helps pulleys and motors run smoothly.

Manually turn belts and the fan. If the belts seem too loose or too tight, adjust them slightly. 

Too big of an adjustment can cause parts to slip. Be sure to make only slight adjustments if needed. 

Use Heat Pump Troubleshooting Tips to Help Diagnose a Problem

Use these heat pump troubleshooting tips to help diagnose problems with your heat pump. Proceed with caution as you work through these ideas.

Be sure to cut the power to the unit when cleaning filters or adjusting any parts. If you’re uncomfortable with looking too deeply into the heat pump, call a professional right away. 

DIY fixes can save money on home repair. But it’s important to put safety above saving money. 

If your heat pump seems to be working properly and a technician doesn’t find an issue, you might have another problem. 

Check the insulation in your home. If you aren’t well-insulated, you’re losing heat and money. Your heat pump is working overtime while air leaks out of your home. 

If your home needs more insulation, check out these tips for how to insulate your house yourself. 

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