Most heat pumps operate smoothly for years without needing repairs, as long as they get annual professional maintenance plus some basic TLC from the homeowner. However, problems can arise, and it’s prudent to know some common heat pump issues so you can either fix them yourself or know what to tell a professional technician.
If you see occasional ice or frost on your heat pump, it’s probably nothing to worry about. This naturally occurs when a heat pump is in heating mode, when moisture in the outside air turns into frost on the outside unit and/or its coil. If it’s operating properly, the heat pump’s defrost cycle will kick on long enough to melt the frost, and then resume the heating mode. However, if the ice persists or gets worse, call a professional. Don’t try to remove the ice with a sharp object.
It Won’t Turn On
This is usually an easy issue. Check to make sure the heat pump is getting power (either at the breaker box or a power cut-off switch near the heat pump). Then check the thermostat to make sure its batteries are fresh (if it uses batteries) and it’s set to the correct mode (heating or cooling) for the season. If none of these steps work, call a professional.
It’s Making a Racket
If you hear banging, clanging or loud vibrations from the heat pump, not the usual humming or fan operation, turn off the system immediately, to avoid further damage. The fan blades might be hitting something, or the motor could be malfunctioning, causing intense vibrations. If you hear hissing, that could be a refrigerant leak. For any of these problems, you’ll want to call a professional.
Steam is Rising From the Outdoor Unit
This is perfectly natural during the heat pump’s defrost cycle.
Auxiliary Heating System Light Stays On
If this occurs, it’s best to consult a professional to identify the cause and best possible solution.
For help addressing problems with your Hampton area home’s heat pump, please contact us at Kearney & Sons Heating & Air Conditioning.
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