Troubleshooting a Heat Pump, Everything You Should Know

troubleshooting heat pump

The one thing everyone craves the most during the chilly winters is heat and warmth. So, among various means and methods to keep yourself warm during the winter, the one that works the charm is a heat pump!

A heat pump works excellently to keep your house warm even during the harshest winters. However, like any machinery, a heat pump can also break down. Now that’s something you would not want happening, especially during the freezing winter days.

Luckily, you can fix some heat pump issues yourself. In this article, the professionals at Hurliman Heating will tell you how to troubleshoot a heat pump. As for the bigger problems, relying on HVAC experts is better and wiser.

Common problems related to heat pump

Some common problems with heat pumps are explained below.

Heat pump won’t turn on

If your heat pump won’t turn on or is not working, you should check the power source first. Ensure the circuit breaker hasn’t tripped and that the switch for the heat pump is in the correct position. If these steps don’t resolve the issue, it may be due to a fault with the thermostat, which will need to be replaced.

Heat pump is making strange noises

If you notice strange noises from your heat pump, the motor or fan might be the culprit. The bearings may be worn, or the fan blades may be damaged, which can cause loud or unusual sounds. It’s best to call a professional to diagnose and fix this issue.

Heat pump is not heating properly 

There could be several reasons why your heat pump is not heating properly. Firstly, check the thermostat setting to ensure it’s set to heating mode. If that’s not the issue, it may be due to a clogged air filter, which reduces the heat pump’s airflow and efficiency. It could also be due to a low refrigerant level, which will need to be topped up.

Heat pump is not defrosting

If your heat pump is not defrosting, check on the defrost control board or the defrost sensor. A professional will need to diagnose and troubleshoot this issue.

Heat pump has a leak

A heat pump with a refrigerant leak will not be able to heat or cool your home properly. This issue should be addressed by a professional who will locate the leak and repair it.

Troubleshooting common heat pump issue

Thermostat issues

The thermostat is the control center for the heat pump, and a faulty thermostat can cause a range of issues, including the heat pump not turning on, not heating or cooling properly, or cycling on and off frequently. 

To troubleshoot thermostat issues in your heat pump, you should check the thermostat settings and battery and ensure that it is properly connected to the heat pump. If the thermostat is still not working, it may need to be replaced.

Refrigerant Leaks

Refrigerant is one of the most important parts of any HVAC system, and a leak can significantly impact its performance. Signs of a refrigerant leak include poor heating and cooling, hissing or bubbling sounds, and a decrease in refrigerant levels. 

However, refrigerant leaks are dangerous and should not be handled alone. The refrigerant leak issue should only be addressed by professional HVAC experts, as they require specialized equipment and training to repair it safely.

Airflow obstructions

Proper airflow is crucial to the performance of a heat pump, and any obstructions can impact its efficiency. Dirty air filters, clogged ducts, and blocked outdoor units can reduce airflow, leading to poor heating and cooling. To prevent airflow obstructions, it is crucial to regularly clean the air filters and remove dust and debris from outdoor units.

Fan problems

The fan is responsible for moving air throughout the building; if it is not functioning correctly, the heat pump will not work properly. Common fan problems include worn bearings, damaged blades, and motor issues. If a problem with the fan is suspected, it is best to call a professional to diagnose and repair the issue.

Defrost issues

Heat pumps can become iced over in colder temperatures, impacting their performance. The defrost system is responsible for removing the ice and restoring the normal operation of the heat pump. If the heat pump is not defrosting, the defrost control board, sensor, or timer might be at fault. 

Once this issue is detected, it is best to hire professional experts to diagnose and fix it, as a professional can have all the knowledge and tools to fix it.

Why it is important to troubleshoot heat pump problems

Troubleshooting heat pump problems is important for several reasons:

Savings on costs

Addressing heat pump problems promptly can prevent further damage to the system, which can be expensive to repair. Troubleshooting issues can also help identify and fix underlying problems impacting energy efficiency, which can result in lower energy bills.

To improve the lifespan of the system

Regular maintenance and troubleshooting can help extend the heat pump’s life and prevent early replacement. It can save homeowners money long-term and reduce their environmental impact by avoiding the need for a new heat pump.

Improved comfort and indoor air quality

Heat pump problems can cause poor heating and cooling and can result in uneven temperatures throughout the building. Troubleshooting these issues can help restore the heat pump to optimal performance, providing better comfort and indoor air quality.


Some heat pump problems, such as refrigerant leaks, can pose a safety risk if not addressed promptly. Troubleshooting these issues can help prevent the release of harmful gases into the home and can help prevent damage to the system.

When should you seek professional assistance from HVAC experts

To troubleshoot heat pump problems effectively, it is important to be mindful of any changes in its performance. Regular maintenance and care can also help prevent problems from occurring and ensure your heat pump lasts for many years to come. If you are unsure how to diagnose or repair a heat pump issue, it’s always best to call a professional for assistance. With proper care and maintenance, heat pumps can provide a reliable and energy-efficient heating and cooling system for homes and buildings for many years.

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