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3 Common Heat Pump Problems and How to Identify Them

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Heat pumps are an ideal choice for your home heating system because they safe, energy efficient, and versatile. However, just like any other type of heating system, heat pumps are vulnerable to damage. Since heat pumps aren't quite as common as other heating systems, such as a furnace or boiler, many homeowners are unfamiliar with the symptoms that signal it's time for heat pump repairs. Here are three of the most common heat pump problems and how to identify them.

Insufficient Heat

There is usually one of two reasons why the heat pump may not be heating correctly: a refrigerant leak or loss of thermal energy from outside the unit.  The first thing to do is to check outside the unit for ice. There is typically a defrost cycle that periodically activates to melt ice off of outside the unit. However, if the defrost cycle fails, ice will form on the unit. This can cause the unit to blow cold air instead of warm air. If there is a refrigerant leak, it is essential that you contact a contractor for heat pump services as soon as possible. If refrigerant is needed, the technician will be able to safely charge the unit.

Unusual Noises

If you hear banging or squealing coming from the heat pump, it may be caused by the fan or the fan motor. If the motor is out of balance, broken, or loose, it will make a lot of banging noises. However, if you hear a squealing or the occasional bumping, it may just require lubrication. Although most fan motors don't require frequent lubrication, some models do need it occasionally. If the unit is extremely noisy, it may be an indication of damage to the compressor, so it's best to contact a professional as soon as possible.

Constantly Running

Heat pumps are designed differently than a furnace, so it will typically run longer and put out less heat than a furnace. However, if the temperature is above freezing and the heat pump is still continuously running, there may be a problem, such as the outdoor unit being frozen, a refrigerant leak, or a problem with the compressor. The best solution is to contact a heat pump contractor to inspect the unit. In some situations, the problem may be an undersized unit that isn't equipped to adequately heat your home. A heat pump contractor will be able to determine if it is the unit itself or if you simply need to have the unit cleaned and serviced.

In order to get the best performance from a heat pump, it is essential that you hire a qualified heat pump contractor to install it. Once it has been installed, it is important to have it cleaned and serviced as recommended by the manufacturer. This will keep it running as efficiently as possible and reduce the need for repairs.