heat pump problems

Five Common Heat Pump Problems That Homeowners Should Know

A heat pump system conveniently fulfills heating and cooling needs with low energy usage. While it may cost more than a conventional air conditioner, the cost efficiency and longevity make the purchase worth it.

Heat pump problems can occur over time, sometimes requiring professional assistance. Here are some system issues we see as a top provider of New Jersey’s heat pump services.

How Do Heat Pumps Work?

Air source and ground source (geothermal) heat pumps move heat between two locations. Air source heat pumps move heat between outdoor air and the property. A geothermal heat pump uses the ground for heat transfer.

A heat pump’s set of two coils changes functions if the system provides heating or cooling. In the winter, the heat pump pulls heat in through the outdoor unit and distributes it indoors with the air handler and indoor unit. In summer, it takes heat from your property and releases it outside.

Some air source heat pumps require ducts to disperse heat or cool air through the building. These ducted heat pumps only need one system to manage the entire property.

Others require no ducts, only a small hole to connect the indoor and outdoor units. You typically need a system for each room to manage the indoor temperature with ductless units.

Five Common Heat Pump Problems We Fix

Heat pump troubleshooting sometimes only requires cleaning around the outdoor unit or replacing an inner filter. Other issues may need a more experienced hand. These seven heat pump problems may have more than one cause and solution.

#1. Constantly Running Heat Pump

If your heat pump never turns off, it may have trouble meeting your temperature requirements. You can check how the thermostat is set or change the air filter. If the thermostat has problems, you can reset it or call a technician to help.

Other causes may be internal, such as a refrigerant leak or dirty heat pump coils. Because these problems need someone to open the units, you should rely on experienced hands to resolve them. Refrigerant issues require training and an active HVAC license.

#2. Frozen Outdoor Unit

In some cases, water can freeze on the outdoor unit. While it has a defrost mechanism, if the mechanism malfunctions, it cannot remove the ice. Then, the heat pump cannot move heat from the outdoor air or ground into the building.

Low refrigerant amounts and piles of snow on the outdoor unit can cause this problem. To prevent more common freezing problems, keep water and snow off the top of your heat pump.

#3. Indoor Air Handler Malfunctions

The air handler helps distribute the heated or cooled air throughout the building. When it fails to function, you usually do not feel any air blowing from the vents or circulating in the room. 

The most common air handler issues resolve with a wiring checkup or resetting your circuit breaker. We do not recommend trying to resolve wiring problems on your own. However, you can check your circuits at the circuit breaker box.

#4. Heat Pump Not Heating or Cooling

You may feel air coming from the vents, but it’s not the right temperature. You may receive cool air when you want it warm or vice versa. Other times, the air may stay at a lukewarm temperature or become hotter or colder incorrectly based on outdoor conditions.

A reversal valve inside the system helps the refrigerant change directions for the heating and cooling processes. When it fails to work, the heat pump may keep cooling the property when you want it warm. You may also receive mild air if there is a refrigerant leak, clogged air filter, or leaky duct system.

#5. Strange Heat Pump Smells

If you notice the air smells strange, you may have one of three heat pump problems:

  • Animal infestations in the indoor or outdoor unit
  • Mold or bacterial growth in the unit or duct system
  • Electrical problems causing a burning or acid-like smell

For each of these problems, you may want to rely on a technician to face these potential smell causes. Each requires outside help to exterminate, deeply cleanse, or reconnect wiring in units.

Who to Call to Troubleshoot Your Heat Pump in

Eastern Shore Heating and Air Conditioning has provided furnace services in NJ for over 40 years. Our HVAC experience can resolve everything from air conditioning malfunctions to heat pump problems. We offer various financing options so you don’t break the bank to have quality air.

Need a reliable heating contractor in New Jersey? Call (732) 800-9416 or fill out our contact form today!