What are some Common Heat Pump Problems?

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A variety of reasons why your heat pump may have stopped working should be properly assessed.

If the heat pump has stopped working entirely, the first step of protocol would be to check the thermostat and power supply, as this is how the heat pump functions; if this is malfunctioning, it will cause faults to the system as a whole.

If you live in an area in which temperatures get extremely cold, your heat pump may be at risk of freezing; therefore, if your heat pump isn't working, it may be frozen. In this situation, turn on the defrost cycle manually and ensure no vents or filters are blocked.

What are the most common heat pump problems?

A heat pump to generate hot water is a wise investment, assuming it doesn’t break down. Heat pumps are no different from other electrical devices because various problems can develop and lead to failure. This FAQ will give you an overview of some common heat pump problems and explain a way forward.

Customers frequently call a maintenance expert to diagnose and repair their heat pump unit immediately. However, the owner can fix some minor problems with a heat pump.

Knowing the most frequent causes of heat pump problems is crucial to be able to undertake such DIY analyses of the issue. By knowing when you do and do not require expert assistance, you can recognise the problem if it arises and save money in the long run. Additionally, you can discover various techniques for maintaining your pump’s peak performance.

The top tips for common heat pump problems

  • Listen for strange noises from the heat pump technology; they could indicate a problem with the compressor or other components. In such instances calling a servicing company could avoid more significant and costly issues.

heat pump being installed

Has your heat pump entirely stopped running?

If your heat pump stops working, the thermostat or power supply could be the most likely issue. Start by determining if there is power going to your unit. Ensure the power outlet is turned on and no circuit breaker has tripped.

The breaker must be reset or replaced if it has blown or tripped. If you reset it and it trips again, you have an electrical risk, e.g. shortage, and to fix this, you need to call a qualified electrician.

If your heat pump has stopped functioning once more after getting the thermostat updated recently, the possible flaws could be the thermostat’s mode not being fully compatible. In this case, seek guidance from a specialist to determine whether the thermostat is the right one for your system and if it’s in the correct setting.

Has your heat pump frozen up?

If you notice that your heat pump has frozen and ceased operating, there is no need to panic. If you live in a cold climate, heat pumps freeze up relatively quickly; the outdoor unit of a heat pump can ice over and stop working.

Modern heat pumps have an inbuilt defrost cycle that turns on at a specific temperature, but this protection system can sometimes fail. So, your heat pump freezing up could indicate that this in-built system has failed.

To resolve the issue, manually turn the defrost cycle on, if your unit has this option, to allow the condenser unit to defrost itself.

Does your heat pump fan not work?

If the blower/fan in your heat pump has stopped working, a broken belt is likely the cause. To fix it, you’ll need to purchase a new belt and install it. Typically, a professional will fit the new belt, but you can also do it yourself with the right tools and knowledge.

Reclaim heat pump

Blown motherboard

The motherboard in the heat pump’s outside unit is the operation’s brain. After years of service, motherboards can malfunction, for example, because of corrosion, and if this is the case, unfortunately, the repair is not economically viable. This is because motherboards are expensive to replace and sometimes hard to source if the unit is older than 5 to 7 years old.

Are your heat pump cycles wrong?

If your system consistently turns on and off, it is likely a thermostat issue. Check if your thermostat is malfunctioning throughout the day; if it is, you must recalibrate or replace it.

Another cause for this issue could be a blocked filter. If an air filter is clogged up with dust (which happens over time), the heat pump cannot expel the air correctly. Thankfully this is an easy fix, as you can manually clean the filter. Less likely causes of this issue are a faulty valve or damaged fan.

Other common heat pump problems

Power supply

Ensure that your system is getting the power it needs, and check circuit breakers to see if any have been tripped. Resetting the power supply or circuit breakers might solve the issue.

Thermostat settings

The thermostat controls the heat pump’s operation and may be set to the wrong mode or temperature. It could also be malfunctioning.

Airflow issues

A dirty air filter, dirty coils, or a blocked condensate drain can cause a blockage in the system and can stop the heat pump from working. Regular maintenance can help to avoid any airflow issues.

man carrying air conditioner gas canister

Refrigerant Leak

Heat pumps need refrigerant to operate; therefore, if the refrigerant fluid leaks, the system may stop working. Always contact a professional in the case of a refrigerant flow leak.

Motor or compressor problems

The motors and compressor fail because of old age, lack of maintenance, or other factors. This would cause the system to stop working.

Faulty start capacitor

The start capacitor provides the initial jolt of electricity to start the motor, and if it malfunctions, the motor won’t start.

Damaged ductwork

A blockage or damage, which will lead to air leakage, in the ductwork that distributes the heated or cooled air from the system to your home. It will also impact the quality of the heating or cooling mode you are receiving despite the system itself working.

Software problem

Modern heat pumps often have complex digital controls. Sometimes a software glitch or firmware problem could cause your equipment issues.

So, if your system has stopped working, go through the potential list of causes, and if you cannot find a straightforward solution, book a professional company for the fault-finding mission.

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