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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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Erin C.
1716007429
AC stopped blowing cold air, oh what fun to be an adult. From the initial call (“We’re gonna get someone there fast, can’t have us pretty girls getting too hot!”) to Octavio and David’s very thorough service, can’t recommend this company enough.
Jennifer S.
1715997072
David Mares and Fabio Gomez were great. They came out quickly to assess the problem and explained everything in detail.
Jeff M.
1715995586
Ivan and Ariel were amazing technicians and representatives of your company. They were thoughtful in how they explained our system and how they were maintaining it. They also went above and beyond in their service. Would give 6 stars if I could. We will be signing up for the annual membership service because of genuine, trustworthy and effective partners like Ivan and Ariel. Carissa who scheduled our service was awesome as well.
Sandra C.
1715982294
Kevin had a delightful personality and was very efficient during his visit. Great service, thank you!5/17/24Ruben and Jason did a great and superb job.
Jonathan W.
1715979105
Marco was very helpful! Great company. I recommend him for any work you need done on your ac!
Stefano N.
1715975759
Emmith came out to repair and service my HVAC unit. The whole process with Brody Pennell was exceptional - from my initial call to the actual service by Emmith. Incredibly professional organization and my unit is working perfectly now. I would highly recommend Emmith and Brody PennellDaniel B and Juan de Jesus came out to service my units. They did an excellent job - very professional, thorough and courteous. Would highly recommend them and Brody Pennell
Alyssa N.
1715975606
Juan Molina was so efficient and nice! Very helpful and professional!!!
Diana S.
1715973583
Daniel and Richie were great! So friendly, clean, and professional. They were very respectful of our home and the surroundings. We are happy to have our HVAC unit cared for by them.
Olivia E.
1715972266
James H and Armando N were super helpful and professional. Very efficient work and great at explaining the issues.
Barbara B.
1715970108
Tristan and Leo h were clean, quiet and respectful.
Rosa O.
1715967675
05/17 Juancho and Juan c stopped by to repair a thermostat issue. They were on time, professional and answered all my questions. Our AC is fully functional. Thank you.Daniel b and Dan R were right on time. They were professional and completed the work timely and efficiently.03/05/24 we had 2 other tech come out Daniel B and Ifthy and Alessandro . They listened to all my concerns regarding the AC system. After trouble shooting they came back and explained the system and how it works. He even explained what repairs he recommended. Great service. Thank you guys.
Patrick H.
1715966809
Anthony Manzo was here and on time and well dressed and very professional 👍🏽👍🏽
J C.
1715964276
The great service started with David for service, then to Brett who set us up with an amazing new system. Installation was rapid and efficient, everyone was very clean and polite. Thanks to Hilario V, Juan D and Michael M for your hard work and professionalism
barney A.
1715903456
Kevin and Juancho did a great job.
lina T.
1715900168
Rene is very helpful & knowledgeable!
Ryan Z.
1715896451
Shawn was very thorough and knowledgeable about heating and air. And a nice young man. Also, Mike I., Raul I., Pablo P. And Diego B. Great group of guys! Hard working and fast!
Erica
1715895415
David mares was very professional. He went above and beyond.
Ronald W.
1715893913
Juan J Carbajal solved my furnace issues lickety split. Now I can be warm at will, without stress. 5 stars!!!
Daniel V.
1715893293
Steven and Freddy were awesome! So kind and helpful with their maintenance call. Happy to be a member with them!
Mario M. R.
1715891967
Anthony Manzo was very thorough and courteous. He did a great job.
elaine M.
1715891733
Richie Salazar and Juan DeJesus were professional, answered all my questions, and were a pleasure to work with.
Patrick O.
1715888652
James is everything you want in an hvac technician. He walked me through every step, documented everything, and explained in detail how every piece of my AC system work, even getting down into the nitty gritty science at times ( and then politely dumb it for me). He did all this with an easy going personality. 6/5 stars.
Mr. H.
1715885501
Juan Carbajal and César corrales did a great job fixing my unit was here on time and very informative would recommend these guys 10005/16/2024Daniel B. and Maurice did a great job andgave us a lot of information on our units. They should be in an office.
Paizley L.
1715885286
Ariel and Philip were great - on time - very thorough and kind
Chris L.
1715884235
Daniel B and Maurice were very efficient and friendly
Joanie N.
1715884064
Ivan is very cordial and efficient. Fabio is also fantastic!
Sophie K.
1715883395
Rene did an excellent and thorough job. Jose came to fix AC and did an excellent job as well! Juan c was super friendly and speedy. Amazing job.
Hamish M.
1715883223
The True Measure of a ContractorIt’s easy to give a company high marks when everything goes smoothly. But let’s face it, sometimes things don’t go smoothly. And the true measure of a contractor is revealed in how they respond when things go wrong. Brody Pennell simply sets the standard that all others should aspire to.In a nutshell, my wife and I hired these wonderful human beings to do a major job at our townhouse: replacing the 30-year-old rooftop HVAC unit with a new, energy efficient one. Of course, before choosing them, we did our due diligence, secured four different bids and read all the reviews, etc.Brody’s was certainly not the least expensive estimate we received. But they also weren’t the most expensive. (Those guys who have the fancy retro graphics on their trucks were the most expensive… and yet their rep did not offer us the better equipment options that Brody did, he was slow to follow up, and just didn’t seem to care about winning our business.) And on the flipside, there was a contractor whose bid came in much cheaper. But he suggested that getting a permit for a major crane operation over a public sidewalk on a shared-property condominium building should be considered optional – giant red flag.In addition to having great reviews and a reasonable price, our interactions with Brody’s rep, Brian, were great. He was extremely knowledgeable, ridiculously responsive and just gave off good vibes. So we happily went with Brody Pennell and are so glad we did. They sent out their foreman, Jaime – another kind, courteous, professional man – to scout the job, got it scheduled quickly, even though it was around the Thanksgiving holiday, and showed up exactly when they said they would with every visit. The big installation itself went swimmingly. And again the Brody techs that did the bulk of the work were great representatives for the company.Then, after the work was complete, a couple of problems revealed themselves. I won’t go into extreme detail on this. But due to the custom curb mounting that the new machine required, there was an increase in vibrations into the house, which was unexpected from a new, more efficient machine. And there was a roof leak issue that occurred during the unprecedented rains that we had last winter.For both issues, Brody was on their game without us having to push them. They were simply committed to making things right for us from the beginning. The head of the company, Mike Carson, dealt with us directly, every step of the way. And the entire Brody team did everything in their power to get the issues fixed. This required several visits to the house, and sourcing subcontractors to deal with certain issues. To be clear, this wasn’t convenient for either us or them. And Brody likely ended up losing money on this job. But that never stopped them from doing what they needed to in order to make things right.That is what separates a great contractor from a serviceable one. And that is why we will be customers of theirs for life and will always recommend Brody Pennell to anyone who needs HVAC work done.5-16-24 Update: Just had another seasonal maintenance visit. This time from Kevin and Juancho who were fantastic and thorough. Keep up the great work, guys!
Sandra N.
1715882929
Juan Molina has done a very good job and been very healpful
Maggie M.
1715882843
Kevin & Juancho are awesome! Gave us great service today!!
John A.
1715881925
David Mares is great at explaining HVAC details.
jcandre24
1715880409
Rene was very kind and thorough. And showed up on time. Thank you Rene.
Jordan L.
1715825568
Very good - cleaned everything.
Michael D.
1715824781
Christian,Ale and Jose did a fantastic job installing our units and testing them to perfection! Thanks for all your help!
Rebeca M.
1715806995
Armando N and James H did a great job.
David H.
1715802434
Juan Romo was efficient knowledgeable andCurtiousPleasant to work with
Eric Z.
1715800680
Leo H and Tristen came to the house for my summer check up. They are simply the best…. Professional, knowledgeable and took the time to explain the wear and tear on my unit and what I needed and not needed for the summer and beyond. It is always great when you find people you can trust to get the job done and have your best interest in mind as they do their job. I will request to have them be my “go to” team and I suggest you do as well.
Olivette S.
1715800410
Juancho did a terrific job and very professional.
Stephen D.
1715798574
Kevin Lopez is very professional, personable and thorough. He answered all our questions with clear answers. He’s a great representative of Brody Pennell.
Marsha D.
1715798347
Kevin was very thorough and extremely pleasant. Great job!
Robin L.
1715795885
Ivan Diaz & Hilton K. Thank you !
Gail S.
1715795283
I sincerely commend both David Mares and Ashton, his supervisor, for the extreme conscientiousness and attention they gave to my aging heating and air conditioning systems. They both explained and objectively proved the nature of my system's aging out failures, and I find them very trustworthy. I know they are trying to help me secure the best solution on my budget as a retired person. I appreciate their respective services, which occurred on May 12, 2024.
Edward W.
1715793363
Richie Salazar did an outstanding job with our annual inspection. Very courteous and very professional.
N H
1715728032
Update 5/14/24 Desi and edward came to do our annual service and were extremely professional and friendly. They explained their work and took videos to explain to us, what was going on w the hvac unit on the roof.Rene my service tech was great. On time, courteous and helpful. He gave me some helpful tips for my thermostat and vent maintenance. Thank you.
Andre S.
1715726970
Kevin and Maurice were great tecks, and gave friendly service
Audrey G.
1715726775
Juan Romo was so polite and thorough. Showed me pictures of all the components and the issues. Broke down all of my options and explained everything. He was extremely careful in my home and left no dirty trace of work being done. !!!!! The doormat, booties and gloves they use is great too !!!
Jacob S.
1715725814
Great work / customer service! Special shout out to Juan Molina and team!
Ashley B.
1715724414
Juan Molina and Richard were so helpful and professional and very clean. Thank you for your help guys!
Pamela J.
1715720668
Anthony Manzo,Brett Turner, Mike and Raul I, Ben T and Rafael A gave me great service and excellent recommendations. They made sure I understood everything. Thanks!Cesar C and Hilton K did a great repairing my problem. They were on time , efficient, courteous and neat. Thank you!
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This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Erin C.
1716007429
AC stopped blowing cold air, oh what fun to be an adult. From the initial call (“We’re gonna get someone there fast, can’t have us pretty girls getting too hot!”) to Octavio and David’s very thorough service, can’t recommend this company enough.
Jennifer S.
1715997072
David Mares and Fabio Gomez were great. They came out quickly to assess the problem and explained everything in detail.
Jeff M.
1715995586
Ivan and Ariel were amazing technicians and representatives of your company. They were thoughtful in how they explained our system and how they were maintaining it. They also went above and beyond in their service. Would give 6 stars if I could. We will be signing up for the annual membership service because of genuine, trustworthy and effective partners like Ivan and Ariel. Carissa who scheduled our service was awesome as well.
Sandra C.
1715982294
Kevin had a delightful personality and was very efficient during his visit. Great service, thank you!5/17/24Ruben and Jason did a great and superb job.
Jonathan W.
1715979105
Marco was very helpful! Great company. I recommend him for any work you need done on your ac!
Stefano N.
1715975759
Emmith came out to repair and service my HVAC unit. The whole process with Brody Pennell was exceptional - from my initial call to the actual service by Emmith. Incredibly professional organization and my unit is working perfectly now. I would highly recommend Emmith and Brody PennellDaniel B and Juan de Jesus came out to service my units. They did an excellent job - very professional, thorough and courteous. Would highly recommend them and Brody Pennell
Alyssa N.
1715975606
Juan Molina was so efficient and nice! Very helpful and professional!!!
Diana S.
1715973583
Daniel and Richie were great! So friendly, clean, and professional. They were very respectful of our home and the surroundings. We are happy to have our HVAC unit cared for by them.
Olivia E.
1715972266
James H and Armando N were super helpful and professional. Very efficient work and great at explaining the issues.
Barbara B.
1715970108
Tristan and Leo h were clean, quiet and respectful.
Rosa O.
1715967675
05/17 Juancho and Juan c stopped by to repair a thermostat issue. They were on time, professional and answered all my questions. Our AC is fully functional. Thank you.Daniel b and Dan R were right on time. They were professional and completed the work timely and efficiently.03/05/24 we had 2 other tech come out Daniel B and Ifthy and Alessandro . They listened to all my concerns regarding the AC system. After trouble shooting they came back and explained the system and how it works. He even explained what repairs he recommended. Great service. Thank you guys.
Patrick H.
1715966809
Anthony Manzo was here and on time and well dressed and very professional 👍🏽👍🏽
J C.
1715964276
The great service started with David for service, then to Brett who set us up with an amazing new system. Installation was rapid and efficient, everyone was very clean and polite. Thanks to Hilario V, Juan D and Michael M for your hard work and professionalism
barney A.
1715903456
Kevin and Juancho did a great job.
lina T.
1715900168
Rene is very helpful & knowledgeable!
Ryan Z.
1715896451
Shawn was very thorough and knowledgeable about heating and air. And a nice young man. Also, Mike I., Raul I., Pablo P. And Diego B. Great group of guys! Hard working and fast!
Erica
1715895415
David mares was very professional. He went above and beyond.
Ronald W.
1715893913
Juan J Carbajal solved my furnace issues lickety split. Now I can be warm at will, without stress. 5 stars!!!
Daniel V.
1715893293
Steven and Freddy were awesome! So kind and helpful with their maintenance call. Happy to be a member with them!
Mario M. R.
1715891967
Anthony Manzo was very thorough and courteous. He did a great job.
elaine M.
1715891733
Richie Salazar and Juan DeJesus were professional, answered all my questions, and were a pleasure to work with.
Patrick O.
1715888652
James is everything you want in an hvac technician. He walked me through every step, documented everything, and explained in detail how every piece of my AC system work, even getting down into the nitty gritty science at times ( and then politely dumb it for me). He did all this with an easy going personality. 6/5 stars.
Mr. H.
1715885501
Juan Carbajal and César corrales did a great job fixing my unit was here on time and very informative would recommend these guys 10005/16/2024Daniel B. and Maurice did a great job andgave us a lot of information on our units. They should be in an office.
Paizley L.
1715885286
Ariel and Philip were great - on time - very thorough and kind
Chris L.
1715884235
Daniel B and Maurice were very efficient and friendly
Joanie N.
1715884064
Ivan is very cordial and efficient. Fabio is also fantastic!
Sophie K.
1715883395
Rene did an excellent and thorough job. Jose came to fix AC and did an excellent job as well! Juan c was super friendly and speedy. Amazing job.
Hamish M.
1715883223
The True Measure of a ContractorIt’s easy to give a company high marks when everything goes smoothly. But let’s face it, sometimes things don’t go smoothly. And the true measure of a contractor is revealed in how they respond when things go wrong. Brody Pennell simply sets the standard that all others should aspire to.In a nutshell, my wife and I hired these wonderful human beings to do a major job at our townhouse: replacing the 30-year-old rooftop HVAC unit with a new, energy efficient one. Of course, before choosing them, we did our due diligence, secured four different bids and read all the reviews, etc.Brody’s was certainly not the least expensive estimate we received. But they also weren’t the most expensive. (Those guys who have the fancy retro graphics on their trucks were the most expensive… and yet their rep did not offer us the better equipment options that Brody did, he was slow to follow up, and just didn’t seem to care about winning our business.) And on the flipside, there was a contractor whose bid came in much cheaper. But he suggested that getting a permit for a major crane operation over a public sidewalk on a shared-property condominium building should be considered optional – giant red flag.In addition to having great reviews and a reasonable price, our interactions with Brody’s rep, Brian, were great. He was extremely knowledgeable, ridiculously responsive and just gave off good vibes. So we happily went with Brody Pennell and are so glad we did. They sent out their foreman, Jaime – another kind, courteous, professional man – to scout the job, got it scheduled quickly, even though it was around the Thanksgiving holiday, and showed up exactly when they said they would with every visit. The big installation itself went swimmingly. And again the Brody techs that did the bulk of the work were great representatives for the company.Then, after the work was complete, a couple of problems revealed themselves. I won’t go into extreme detail on this. But due to the custom curb mounting that the new machine required, there was an increase in vibrations into the house, which was unexpected from a new, more efficient machine. And there was a roof leak issue that occurred during the unprecedented rains that we had last winter.For both issues, Brody was on their game without us having to push them. They were simply committed to making things right for us from the beginning. The head of the company, Mike Carson, dealt with us directly, every step of the way. And the entire Brody team did everything in their power to get the issues fixed. This required several visits to the house, and sourcing subcontractors to deal with certain issues. To be clear, this wasn’t convenient for either us or them. And Brody likely ended up losing money on this job. But that never stopped them from doing what they needed to in order to make things right.That is what separates a great contractor from a serviceable one. And that is why we will be customers of theirs for life and will always recommend Brody Pennell to anyone who needs HVAC work done.5-16-24 Update: Just had another seasonal maintenance visit. This time from Kevin and Juancho who were fantastic and thorough. Keep up the great work, guys!
Sandra N.
1715882929
Juan Molina has done a very good job and been very healpful
Maggie M.
1715882843
Kevin & Juancho are awesome! Gave us great service today!!
John A.
1715881925
David Mares is great at explaining HVAC details.
jcandre24
1715880409
Rene was very kind and thorough. And showed up on time. Thank you Rene.
Jordan L.
1715825568
Very good - cleaned everything.
Michael D.
1715824781
Christian,Ale and Jose did a fantastic job installing our units and testing them to perfection! Thanks for all your help!
Rebeca M.
1715806995
Armando N and James H did a great job.
David H.
1715802434
Juan Romo was efficient knowledgeable andCurtiousPleasant to work with
Eric Z.
1715800680
Leo H and Tristen came to the house for my summer check up. They are simply the best…. Professional, knowledgeable and took the time to explain the wear and tear on my unit and what I needed and not needed for the summer and beyond. It is always great when you find people you can trust to get the job done and have your best interest in mind as they do their job. I will request to have them be my “go to” team and I suggest you do as well.
Olivette S.
1715800410
Juancho did a terrific job and very professional.
Stephen D.
1715798574
Kevin Lopez is very professional, personable and thorough. He answered all our questions with clear answers. He’s a great representative of Brody Pennell.
Marsha D.
1715798347
Kevin was very thorough and extremely pleasant. Great job!
Robin L.
1715795885
Ivan Diaz & Hilton K. Thank you !
Gail S.
1715795283
I sincerely commend both David Mares and Ashton, his supervisor, for the extreme conscientiousness and attention they gave to my aging heating and air conditioning systems. They both explained and objectively proved the nature of my system's aging out failures, and I find them very trustworthy. I know they are trying to help me secure the best solution on my budget as a retired person. I appreciate their respective services, which occurred on May 12, 2024.
Edward W.
1715793363
Richie Salazar did an outstanding job with our annual inspection. Very courteous and very professional.
N H
1715728032
Update 5/14/24 Desi and edward came to do our annual service and were extremely professional and friendly. They explained their work and took videos to explain to us, what was going on w the hvac unit on the roof.Rene my service tech was great. On time, courteous and helpful. He gave me some helpful tips for my thermostat and vent maintenance. Thank you.
Andre S.
1715726970
Kevin and Maurice were great tecks, and gave friendly service
Audrey G.
1715726775
Juan Romo was so polite and thorough. Showed me pictures of all the components and the issues. Broke down all of my options and explained everything. He was extremely careful in my home and left no dirty trace of work being done. !!!!! The doormat, booties and gloves they use is great too !!!
Jacob S.
1715725814
Great work / customer service! Special shout out to Juan Molina and team!
Ashley B.
1715724414
Juan Molina and Richard were so helpful and professional and very clean. Thank you for your help guys!
Pamela J.
1715720668
Anthony Manzo,Brett Turner, Mike and Raul I, Ben T and Rafael A gave me great service and excellent recommendations. They made sure I understood everything. Thanks!Cesar C and Hilton K did a great repairing my problem. They were on time , efficient, courteous and neat. Thank you!
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