The temperature drops and your heat pump fails. Go figure! But is the issue serious enough to call a professional? What’s normal and what’s not when it comes to performance? If you think your heat pump may need maintenance, read on to learn about common issues that affect them and what you can do.
“My heat pump isn’t running.”
One of the most common heat pump problems is that it’s simply not running. The culprit may be easy to spot: the thermostat. Make sure that your thermostat is set correctly – to “Heat” and on the appropriate temperature – before doing anything else. If the issue isn’t resolved, there may have been a malfunction with the wiring of your thermostat. An electrician or residential heating repair technician can diagnose the issue and reconnect the heat pump and thermostat correctly.
If your heat pump isn’t running, it could also be a sign that it has lost power. This may be due to a tripped circuit breaker or blown fuse in the heat pump’s air handler cabinet. In this situation, it’s best to contact a heating professional.
“My heat pump is blowing cool air.”
If you’re used to oil or gas furnaces, be aware that the air circulated by heat pumps will not feel as hot as what you may have previously experienced. However, if the air blowing from your heat pump isn’t raising the temperature of your home to the temperature set on the thermostat, there is a problem.
One way to tell if there’s an issue is to monitor your vents over a period of time. While your heat pump does go through a defrost cycle during which it blows cooler air, these cycles should only last about 10-15 minutes. If your pump is blowing cold air for longer than that, then it’s time to call in a professional. The coils of your heat pump might need to be cleaned, or the reverse valve may be stuck.
“My heat pump is making noises.”
Some rattling can be normal when a heat pump is running, especially if yours is a few years old.
Squealing, popping, grinding, and ringing noises, however, are signs that there is an internal issue with the heat pump. This could range from faulty motor bearings to a loose flap of metal inside the pump. A professional can examine the heat pump and even install insulation in your metal ductwork to help lessen unavoidable, but bothersome, noises.
“My heat pump is covered in ice.”
A little bit of frost or very thin ice is a normal sight on most heat pumps, especially during the winter. The pump’s defrost cycle ensures that there isn’t too much build-up on the machine.
However, if you’ve noticed a considerable amount of ice on your heat pump – especially on the top – there could be an issue with the pump’s performance. Whether it turns out that the defrost isn’t functioning correctly, the refrigerant is low, or the unit has a broken fan, it needs to be examined by a professional. Don’t try to remove the ice yourself; you could end up doing serious damage to the pump.
“I’m cold… but my energy bill is increasing.”
Maybe your heat pump seems to be running normally, but it’s just not heating your home like it used to, and your bills have inexplicably increased as well. These are common warning signs that your heat pump is underperforming due to its age.
When a heat pump gets older, it stops running efficiently. After years of use, heat pumps cannot function at the same level as when they were new, and this dip in performance costs more money as the pump works overtime to heat your home. Simply turning up your thermostat to try and make up for the difference in performance will only increase your bills even more.
Energy Star recommends replacing your heat pump at least every 10 years. If you’ve noticed these issues and think it’s time for a replacement, call a residential heating professional and be sure to choose a new heat pump that has a high Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) and Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF). The SEER/HSPF ratings reflect the efficiency of the heat pump’s performance; they take into account how much energy the pump needs in order to run versus how much heating and cooling power it produces for your home. An easy way to make sure that your heat pump has a high SEER/HSPF rating is to choose a model that has been certified by Energy Star.
If you’re experiencing any of these issues, call a heating technician to make sure that your heat pump is functioning properly. The residential heating professionals at IT Landes can diagnose any issue your heat pump may have and help you find a solution to keep your home comfortable during the winter months. We serve homes in Harleysville, Lansdale, Skippack, Souderton, Telford, and surrounding Pennsylvania areas. Call us today at 215-256-4221 or request an appointment online to have your heat pump inspected.