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Troubleshooting Tips for Malfunctioning and Frozen Heat Pumps (1)

Troubleshooting Tips for Malfunctioning and Frozen Heat Pumps

According to the US Department of Energy, a heat pump is a unique device that works to regulate temperatures in homes located in moderate climates. They are much more energy-efficient than furnaces and air conditioners. Similar in design and components of a regular air conditioning unit, an HVAC heat pump simply regulates the temperature in rooms that require both heating and cooling. If your heat pump is not working properly and shows signs of malfunction, there are some basic things to check before calling a service technician. Following are some basic instructions to follow in case of a malfunctioning heat pump.

Instructions for a Malfunctioning Heat Pump

  • Check the switch box of the house and the fuses used by the heat pump. The experts at Comfy Climate say that this is the most common cause for heat pumps and other air conditioning systems not to turn on. Check that the power cords or lines that provide electricity to the heat pump are not damaged or disconnected. This is a pretty basic thing to do, but most people miss out on it because they think that there is some technical reason behind their heat pump’s improper functioning.
  • Raise the temperature in your indoor or outdoor thermostat if the unit is not producing heat but is still producing cold air. Many heat pumps have a backup heater that produces additional heat when outside temperatures are too low to utilize the ambient heat produced by the system. If replacing the thermostats does not work, it may be necessary to replace or recalibrate the backup. You might need expert help in this case, and it is better to call an expert from an HVAC maintenance service near you.
  • Check that the thermostat is set to cool mode if the system is giving out warm air when it should be cooling. If the backup of the heater can be heard while the heat pump is in cooling mode, experts at Comfy Climate reckon that a problem may already exist in the outdoor compressor condenser unit or the double fuel relay. An external thermostat can also cause a malfunction of the unit to restart to heating mode instead of cooling.
  • Inspect and clean the overflow condensation tray located in the HVAC heat pump unit if the heat pump is struggling to produce cool air. Clogs and leaks in the condensation lines will fill the overflow tray and impede the proper circulation needed for optimal cooling efficiency. If the overflow tray is full, experts recommend cleaning the condensate lines and looking for blockages by small insects and other debris.
  • Change or clean the air filter on the heat pump to resolve the foul smell from the air caused by dust. A dirty air filter also reduces the amount of heating or cooling that leaves your home. Our HVAC maintenance experts understand that the filter is generally found near the fan, air manipulator, or in the hot air return. Regardless of where it is located, it is better to keep it clean for improving indoor air quality.
Some Bonus Tips and Warnings
  • Replace the heat pump air filter with a HEPA filter for cleaner air. Higher quality air filters tend to trap more particles in the air.
  • Heat pumps, like all HVAC units, can become dusty and full of debris. Having cleaned your heat pump by a professional HVAC maintenance service at least once a year will extend your life and prevent many operational problems.
  • Do not attempt to open or touch any of the parts inside the heat pump unless the unit is completely disconnected from an electrical source. Some parts inside a heat pump carry a high voltage that could cause serious damage or even death. 

How to troubleshoot a heat pump that has been frozen

Heat pumps can be efficient in transforming cold days and nights into comfortable temperatures. However, a unit that has ice build-up and is constantly freezing can be very problematic and fails to serve its purpose when it is cold. Not only this discourages the maximum heating efficiency of the unit, but it can also shorten its total service life. To keep the unit in first-class shape, and generate efficiency in heating costs, the inspection and solution of freezing problems are important. Calling a professional HVAC maintenance service is the way to go about when you have tried all you’ve learned in this post.

Instructions for a Frozen Heat Pump

  • Check if there is water under the outdoor unit. Inspect the outer surface of the indoor serpentine enclosure. Consult the manual if you are not sure of the location of these parts. If any water is observed, the unit is likely to form ice, which means you have to call an HVAC maintenance service’s expert.
  • Turn off the unit and remove the filter from the filter compartment. If air and dust have accumulated on the filter, it is suggested that you clean it with a regular brush before reassembling the heat pump. A dirty filter can cause the unit to freeze. Cleaning filters can vary with different units, so it is better to refer to the cleaning instructions specific to the unit mentioned on your system’s guide book.
  • Activate the defrost option if your heat pump comes with this feature. This should thaw the ice. If your heating pump does not have a defrost function, turn it off for a few hours to allow the ice to melt. Modern heat pumps are normally equipped with this function.
  • If it is freezing outside, it can be very likely the compressor in the unit is damaged. Turn off the unit and contact a qualified technician to inspect and repair the heat pump.
  • Repairing a heat pump can be a very difficult process that requires a qualified technician. Do not attempt to repair a unit if you have no experience in doing so. You risk damaging the unit more and end up paying a lot more in repair costs than you might initially have to. Therefore, follow these methods only if you have surface-level knowledge (at least) of handling HVAC systems, else give Comfy Climate a call and let our experts look into it.

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