Many homes from Columbus, GA to Opelika, AL use heat pumps to cool rooms during the summer months, then heat them when winter arrives. This double-duty HVAC system can experience different difficulties as it cools versus issues that tend to pop up during heating season. Energy Savers explains some common heat pump cooling problems you may encounter over the warmer months.
Common Summer Heat Pump Problems
Cooling problems with heat pumps that prevent the home from keeping a comfortable temperature stem from all sorts of different causes. Sometimes, the issue is caused by a simple error that you can fix yourself (and we recommend you try before calling us to potentially save yourself the time and money associated with a service appointment).
Troubleshooting Heat Pump Cooling Problems
- Incorrect thermostat settings will stop your heat pump from properly cooling the home. Make sure the thermostat is set on COOL mode, not HEAT, or else your heat pump will not reverse function to cool your home – instead, it will continue to add heat to your indoor spaces. In homes with multiple occupants, it’s not uncommon for one person to adjust temperatures without notifying others, which may make you think your heat pump isn’t cooling correctly if you are accustomed to certain settings. Check the thermostat temperature setting, and make sure it is a few degrees lower than the current room temperature, which should tell the heat pump to start a cooling cycle.
- Poor airflow can limit heat pump cooling performance. Make sure the outdoor heat pump unit is clear of debris, check the air filter and replace it with a new filter if it is dirty, and keep all vents and registers throughout the house open and unblocked.
- If your heat pump isn’t cooling because the system won’t even turn on, a power problem is possible. Make sure the thermostat has fresh batteries, check the electrical panel and reset breakers if tripped, and make sure equipment ON/OFF switches are turned to the ON position.
Cooling problems with your heat pump will require professional repair if troubleshooting fails to fix your issue. Below, learn about some common summer heat pump repairs that could happen while you cool your home.
Reversing Valve Issues
The heat pump may be heating instead of cooling not because of improper thermostat settings, but due to a stuck reversing valve. The reversing valve tells the system to switch between heating and cooling modes – if it’s stuck or doesn’t receive the signal to make the switch, the system will only heat.
You’ll need a professional to repair this issue as a slide within the valve may be stuck. There could be a faulty solenoid in need of replacement so the component receives signals to switch operations.
Another explanation for heat pump cooling problems is a refrigerant leak. Heat pumps, like air conditioners, hold refrigerant within a closed line that absorbs and moves heat between the home and the outdoors. Leaks in the refrigerant lines or other components cause the heat pump to lose refrigerant, so the heat pump will no longer have the necessary volume of coolant to function correctly.
Refrigerant leaks must be repaired by a licensed professional with the certifications necessary for safe refrigerant handling. Older heat pumps using Freon refrigerants can expose the environment to harmful chemicals when leaks are present. The source of the refrigerant leak must be identified and repaired to prevent further leakage. Then, the heat pump must be refilled to the proper refrigerant charge which makes up for the lost coolant and provides the system with adequate refrigerant to perform correctly.
A bad starter capacitor can be responsible for heat pump cooling problems where the unit won’t turn on. If the capacitor is faulty, it won’t be able to deliver electricity to the motor, and the cooling system will fail to start. A bad starter capacitor is a component that needs to be replaced by a professional.
Energy Savers Can Solve Your Common Heat Pump Problems
If you’re having cooling problems in your home, give Energy Savers a call if the above troubleshooting tips don’t solve your comfort issues. Our skilled technicians are available to quickly identify and repair system issues so your family can stay cool this season.