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Common Heat Pump Problems

February 3, 2023

Due to the Inflation Reduction Act, many California homeowners are excited about the tax credit and rebate options that come with installing an energy efficient heat pump. Heat pumps can provide many benefits for your home, but it is important to be aware of the problems the unit can experience. Like most home appliances, heat pumps will need repair from time to time and Brody Pennell is prepared to assist you. However, remaining knowledgeable about common problems and warning signs can help catch an uncomfortable breakdown early. In this blog, we discuss common heat pump problems and possible causes to prepare you and your home for the future.

To learn more about the Inflation Reduction Act and how it can benefit homeowners in Los Angeles and surrounding areas, visit our California Heat Pump Electrification blog post!

5 Heat Pump Malfunctions & Possible Causes

Heat pumps can provide both heating and cooling for your home to keep you comfortable in every season. Due to the unit working full time, it may experience malfunctions and require repair. Below are 5 common heat pump issues homeowners in Santa Monica and surrounding areas experience.

  • Loss Of Power
  • Running Constantly
  • Little Or No Airflow
  • Unusual Sounds Or Smells
  • Not Heating Or Cooling

Loss Of Power

If you notice your heat pump isn’t turning on, we first recommend starting with the thermostat. The thermostat is the brain of the operations and can affect the whole system if malfunctioning. As silly as it sounds, ensure that your thermostat is on and set to the correct settings. Another resident in your home may have altered the thermostat accidentally and caused it to power off. Your thermostat should read the correct temperature and be set to “Auto” for efficient heating. If the thermostat will not power on, it may need new batteries. Other causes for your heat pump not working could be:

  • Broken reversing valve
  • Broken starter capacitor
  • Whole home loss of power
  • We recommend calling a Brody Pennell technician if your thermostat is operating correctly, but your heat pump is not turning on. We can quickly identify the issue and repair to restore your home comfort in no time!

Running Constantly

A heat pump running constantly can be due to many factors. Again, we recommend starting with the thermostat. When thermostats are set to “On,” it indicates the heat pump will run even if it is not working to heat or cool your home. Thermostats set to “Auto” only run the heat pump when heating or cooling your home.

If your thermostat settings are correct, check the status of your air filters. Heat pumps struggle to push air through dirty air filters, which causes the unit to work longer to heat and cool your home. Other causes to your heat pump running constantly can include:

  • Broken compressor
  • Dirty coils
  • Refrigerant leak

Little Or No Airflow

Little to no airflow indicates an internal or air filter issue. As we mentioned, heat pumps use more energy to push air through dirty air filters. If your air filters are clear of debris, no airflow could be caused by a malfunctioning blower. The blower is responsible for pushing air through the air ducts and into your home. Blowers can malfunction due to dust build up or wear and tear throughout the years. We recommend calling an experienced Brody Pennell technician to assess the issue rather than attempting to repair the blower yourself.

Unusual Sounds Or Smells

You may experience unusual sounds or smells from your heat pump, which is uncomfortable for everyone in your home. Pay attention for the following sounds to identify the common issue:

  • Banging Noise: If the noise coming from your heat pump is similar to a banging noise, it could indicate a loose part inside the system. The metal hitting other metal components can cause further damage, so we recommend calling a professional immediately to avoid other broken parts.
  • Rattling Noise: If rattling sounds are coming from your heat pump, it is likely due to a loose cover panel, which can be easily fixed by tightening screws.
  • Buzzing Noise: A buzzing noise coming from your heat pump typically indicates an internal problem that should not be ignored, such as dirty motor bearings or malfunctioning coils.

Weird smells coming from your heat pump can indicate mold growth or animal infiltration. We can help identify either problem and direct you towards a solution!

Not Heating Or Cooling

Many homeowners experience their air vents blowing air, but not the correct temperature for the setting. If your heat pump is blowing cold air in the winter or warm air in the summer, we recommend looking at the status of the outdoor unit. Outdoor units can be blocked by debris such as tree branches, grass, and ice in the winter. If the outdoor unit is in good condition, the problem could lie with low refrigerant levels. Refrigerant helps the heat pump effectively heat and cool. We recommend allowing a professional to check the status of your refrigerant levels, because refrigerant is toxic and can cause health issues. Other causes to your heat pump blowing the incorrect temperature can include:

  • Faulty Thermostat
  • Air Leaks
  • Dirty Air Filters

Let us help keep your heat pump in perfect condition with our heat pump maintenance services in Los Angeles and surrounding areas! If you experience any of the common heat pump problems listed, give us a call. Each Brody Pennell technician is an expert at repairing all types of heat pump systems.

About The Author

Brody Pennell

Since 1945, Brody Pennell Heating & Air Conditioning is the committed to helping homeowners in the greater Los Angeles area experience total home comfort. In 2021, the readers of the Los Angeles Times voted Brody Pennell the Best HVAC Company in the area.

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