We’re getting pretty close to the start of heating season, but we may still have some warmer days between now and when the temperature starts to seriously drop. If you’ve tried to use your heat pump to cool your home a bit in the last couple weeks, and it was having trouble cooling properly, you may be wondering why. The best way to find out what’s wrong with your heat pump, and get it fixed, is to have a professional technician examine it for you. While you’re waiting for your technician to arrive, though, check out some of the more common reasons why your heat pump might be malfunctioning.
Whether heating or cooling, your heat pump needs refrigerant in order to work properly. It’s the refrigerant that allows the system to siphon heat from one place and vent it into another. Your system recycles refrigerant back and forth throughout its lifetime, and should never need a refill unless a leak develops.
The lower the refrigerant level in the system drops due to a leak, the less able the system will be to properly cool the home. Eventually, the refrigerant level can drop so low that the system will break down entirely. For this reason, you should call for repairs as soon as you notice fluid dripping from the system. You should also call a technician if the system isn’t blowing enough cold air.
Broken Reversing Valve
If, on the other hand, you have a heat pump that is heating just fine but won’t switch to cooling mode, then you probably have an issue with the reversing valve. The reversing vale is the part of the system that allows it to change the direction that refrigerant flows through it, resulting in its ability to switch between heating and cooling modes. If the valve breaks, either due to a problem with a solenoid or simply getting stuck, then you could end up with a heat pump that is locked into either heating or cooling mode.
Clogged Air Filter
This is actually one that you can fix yourself! The air filter is meant to protect the heat pump from all the dust and other junk that is commonly found in the ducts of the average home. The filter needs to be changed every three months or so while the heat pump is in heavy use, so summer and winter. If it isn’t, it can become clogged and prevent much of the air from getting into the heat pump. If your heat pump isn’t blowing enough air, try changing the air filter and see if that makes a difference. If not, the problem is probably located somewhere else.