When it’s cold enough outdoors to need heating inside, the last surprise you want is a heat pump not heating! Whether it’s the midday or the middle of the night, try troubleshooting your heat pump. These tips may be the quick fix you need, depending on the issue. Of course, if troubleshooting does not fix a heat pump not heating, call Ray & Son for quick and reliable heat pump repairs.
Causes of a Heat Pump Not Heating
A heat pump not heating is commonly caused by a few different issues:
- Dirty filter
- Airflow obstructions inside or outside
- Ice on outdoor unit
- Power issues
- Low refrigerant
Quick Troubleshooting Tips for a Heat Pump Not Heating
All of the issues above have easy DIY solutions, but whether or not the DIY steps work depends on the root cause. Read more in this blog for quick DIY tips to fix a heat pump not heating. We’ll also provide recommendations when it’s time for a professional to assist.
Is Your HVAC Filter Dirty?
The air filter in a heat pump system is not meant to last forever. It requires regular replacement as it traps contaminants from circulated air. Dirty filters restrict airflow through the system and prevent enough air from reaching the evaporator coils to receive warmth.
When the filter is too dirty, not enough air gets through for heating. Therefore, the heat pump produces insufficient warm air for your living areas.
Replace air filters on a regular schedule dictated by filter type, system use, household factors, and more. Some South Georgia homeowners need to replace the filter monthly, while some filters last up to one year.
Especially when the heat pump runs more frequently, the filter often fills faster than the recommended replacement interval.
If you have a heat pump not heating, the first issue to investigate is the filter. Simply access the filter compartment, remove the existing filter, and take a look at its surface.
If it is gray and clogged with contaminants, the cause of your heat pump not heating could be the dirty filter. Throw away the old filter and replace it with a fresh one.
Finally, if household members smoke, if you have pets or are sensitive to pollen and other allergens, change it monthly. Babies, children, the elderly and anyone with allergies, asthma, COPD, certain cardiac conditions and a suppressed immune system are the most vulnerable to poor air quality.
If anyone in your family fits this description, Ray & Son offers additional indoor air quality solutions like dehumidifiers, air cleaners and air purifiers to help reduce symptoms.
Do You Have Obstructed Airflow?
Heat pumps keep South Georgia and North Florida homes warm as they pull energy from the outdoor air. The outdoor compressor unit starts this process as it absorbs heat from the surrounding air. Thus, the unit needs to receive adequate airflow.
Various causes obstruct the airflow to the outdoor unit. If your heat pump is not heating, inspect the outdoor unit for obstructions and do the following:
- Remove any grass clippings, leaves, vegetation, and other natural debris surrounding the unit and/or stuck against its sides. Use a soft brush to gently brush away debris from the fins. If it’s caked with pollen or dust, turn off the power to the unit. Using a garden hose, gently spray away the debris with water. Do not use a power washer.
- Don’t store outdoor items in the two-foot area immediately surrounding your outdoor heat pump unit. Be mindful of fencing and other potential airflow obstructions. Consider an open post design, instead of an opaque one.
- The condenser coils within the outdoor unit become caked with dirt and grime over time. As these coils use their surface area to absorb heat, this buildup hinders the process. Turn off power and access the unit’s interior to assess coil condition. If the coils are dirty, call an HVAC technician to perform coil cleaning.
Is Ice on Your HVAC Unit?
Some ice on the outdoor unit is normal during extreme winter temperatures or weather fluctuations, but excessive ice is a possible cause of a heat pump not heating. Heavy ice restricts airflow, which prevents proper heat pump operation.
When excess ice is detected, the heat pump runs a defrost cycle. This makes the system operate in reverse to send heat to the outdoor coils to thaw them. For heavy ice buildup, this isn’t always enough. Troubleshoot the following issues:
- A dirty air filter obstructs the system’s airflow, a possible cause of too much ice. Check the filter and change it if necessary.
- Obstructions around the outdoor unit prevent airflow, leading to heavy ice. Follow the instructions above to clear away debris surrounding the unit.
- Make sure airflow is not obstructed inside your home. Check all vents, registers, and return air grilles. Make sure louvers are open and the openings are not blocked by rugs, furniture, toys, or other items.
- Gutters above the unit may drip water down below, causing a buildup of ice. Check the gutters and resolve any gutter leaks.
If these steps do not work, professional help is needed to fix your heat pump. The causes for excess ice on the outdoor unit include:
- Low refrigerant
- Bad defrost relay, thermostat, sensors, or controls
- Stuck reversing valve
- Malfunctioning outdoor fan motor
Is the Heat Pump Getting Power?
A heat pump not heating is possible when there is a power issue somewhere in the system. Troubleshoot the thermostat and unit power sources to see if the problem is easily resolved.
- Because the thermostat tells your heat pump when to cycle, it must have power or communication is impossible. Check thermostat batteries, or if hardwired, check the breaker or fuse that powers that circuit. Reset or replace if needed.
- Check power to the outdoor unit as well as the indoor air handler. Make sure the on/off switches located on or near the outdoor unit and indoor air handler are set to ‘on’ and check the circuits at your home’s electrical panel. Reset the breakers or replace fuses if needed.
Low Refrigerant Means Low Heat
If your heat pump does not have a proper refrigerant charge, it is unable to pull in adequate heat. Low refrigerant is a sign of a refrigerant leak. You need a technician to diagnose the issue, repair the leak, and recharge the system. This is not a DIY job. Refrigerant is toxic, so avoid it and keep children and pets away if you suspect a leak.
Ready for a New Heat Pump?
If your heat pump is between 10 to 15 years old, requires more frequent repairs or is inefficient, ask for a free quote from Ray & Son. We’re happy to send a qualified professional to your home to take measurements and to discuss your energy goals. He or she performs the necessary calculations to recommend the correct size.
We find many people have HVAC equipment improperly-sized for their homes. The wrong size – too big or too small – leads to problems like high utility bills, frequent repairs, frozen HVAC coils and uneven temperatures.
Concerned about finances? Don’t be. We provide HVAC finance options. Enjoy greater comfort, better air quality and lower bills. Call us at 229-218-8866 to request a free quote today.
Heat Pump Not Heating? Call Ray & Son!
If you have performed the troubleshooting steps above and still experience your heat pump not heating, it’s time for professional help. Call Ray & Son for heat pump repair.
Our NATE certified technicians inspect your system to find the issue in the way of a warm home, then make reliable repairs to solve the problem and prevent its recurrence. Don’t suffer in the cold – call Ray & Son for service!