5 Common Heat Pump Problems An HVAC Company Can Repair

Wednesday, November 28th, 2018
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The heat pump is a popular alternative to traditional HVAC that can heat and cool homes and businesses. This equipment relies on the principles of air conditioning to provide both heating in the winter and cooling in the summer. Initially, heat pump use was limited to temperate climates. Now, advances in technology have made heat pumps available to homes and businesses everywhere.

Heat pumps are prone to breakdowns, just like any other piece of equipment. This post will go over five common problems you will run into if your property uses heat pumps that you can call an HVAC company to fix.

Air flow issues

Low air flow is one of the most common issues you can run across. It occurs due to issues with the fan motor or fan, clogs in the air passages, or interruptions in electrical power to the pump. Regardless of the cause, it results in your system working harder to perform the same job it ordinarily does. The harder the heat pump works, the greater the likelihood for issues to happen. Problems often result in increased maintenance. In the winter, these issues could continue to add up because the hot air that becomes trapped could damage other components.


Refrigerant leaks are another common issue you will likely confront with your heat pump. The type of refrigerant and amount that leaks depends on the make and model of the equipment. When there is a leak, it imbalances the equipment which increases the strain on the pump when heating or cooling your property. If you see or think there is a refrigerant leak anywhere in your HVAC system, call a professional for assistance.

Broken reversing valve

Heat pumps use a reversing valve to switch from heating to cooling mode. The valve does this by changing the flow of refrigerant. If the valve is malfunctioning or broken, it likely will hurt the ability of your heat pump to reverse that flow. So, your system will be stuck in one mode until the valve is fixed or replaced.

Heat pump ices up

In the winter, it is normal for the outdoor part of your heat pump to accumulate frost or light ice on the sides. Every now and then, the heat pump will go into defrost mode and remove this build-up.

You may see a lot of ice on the top or that the coils are covered in ice. These issues are an indication that something is interfering with the defrosting process, especially in the summer. The ice stops the transfer of heat between the refrigerant and the outside air which prevents the heat pump from defrosting the ice. If it isn’t removed, the ice could severely damage your equipment.

How to fix ice build-up

If you see ice build-up, here are a few things you can troubleshoot. The first problem could be a breakdown in the controls, relays, or sensors. This will prevent the heat pump from “knowing” it is covered in ice. The second thing you should check is whether the fan is running. The fan is critical to transferring the heat from the refrigerant to the outside which heats the outside of the unit and defrosts it. Third, take a look at your refrigerant levels. Fourth, if there are piles of snow around the unit, that could impede the flow of warm air from away from the equipment. This causes a build-up of ice on the unit itself. Finally, if water is leaking onto your unit and freezing, that could be another problem.

If you see build-up, don’t use a sharp object to remove the ice. Instead, use a hose with water to melt it. Then, remove any debris from around the unit and check for leaky gutters.

Heat pump blowing cold air in heat mode

If your heat pump is blowing cold air in the wrong mode, it could be the result of a faulty compressor, valve, or refrigerant problem. It could also be iced up or clogged with dirt and debris. No matter the cause, you should call an experienced technician to take a look inside your HVAC unit to make sure nothing is damaged.

Hiring an experienced HVAC company will help keep your system in top condition. Allen’s Tri-State Mechanical Inc. in Amarillo, Texas can help with all your HVAC needs, including heat pumps. We offer Commercial and Residential installation, inspection, and maintenance services throughout the Texas Panhandle. You can reach us at (806) 376-8345 or Contact Us by email to learn more. We are available to help you 24 hours a day.