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Heat Pump Troubleshooting: An Easy Guide

June 03, 2019

Heat pump troubleshooting can narrow problems down to general components and expedite heat pump repair by an HVAC professional.

Heat pump technology is straightforward and dependable. So what could go wrong? Most heat pump malfunctions relate to thermostat, defrost or airflow problems. Repair usually requires the skills and expertise of an HVAC service pro. However, clarifying the issue using this simple heat pump troubleshooting guide can help you explain the problem to the technician and understand proposed repairs.

  • Start with the thermostat. Make sure it’s in heating mode and set no more than 4 degrees above present room temperature. As long as outdoor temperatures are above 35 degrees, this setting should make the heat pump activate and not the backup heating elements. Turn the fan switch on.
  • If the unit doesn’t activate and the fan doesn’t run, check the breaker panel for a tripped breaker controlling the air handler. If a breaker has tripped, the problem could be a bad connection, a seized blower motor or a shorted controller board. If no breaker is tripped, suspect a defective thermostat, low voltage wiring connections or a stuck fan relay.
  • If the fan runs but blows cold air, set the thermostat 5 degrees or more above room temperature to activate the backup heating elements. If you feel warm air, the problem’s in the outdoor coil/condenser unit. If you still feel no heat, a defective thermostat or air handler may be at fault.
  • Problems at the outdoor unit may include obstructions to coil airflow such as leaves or grass clippings. If ice is present on the outdoor coil, the defroster timer or control module may be defective. If the outdoor compressor or fan doesn’t run, a wiring problem, seized motor or compressor run capacitor may be at fault. If the outdoor fan runs but the unit still doesn’t heat, the refrigerant charge may be low.

As San Antonio’s largest residential HVAC sales and service provider, Jon Wayne Heating & Air Conditioning is ready with fast heat pump troubleshooting and repair to keep you warm all winter and cool in summer. Call us to schedule a service appointment.

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