What’s Wrong With My Heat Pump?

If you are having issues with your electric heat pump, there’s a good chance it’s listed below –– from how to solve it, to immediate steps you can take to remedy the situation and what you should expect to pay.

Are you thinking about investing in a new furnace or heat pump? Home Advisor has a great guide to help you choose what’s right for you. Keep in mind that while a furnace may have more safety concerns, a heat pump issue is more costly to fix. 

Cost Key:

$ – DIY
$$ – low $100’s
$$$ – high $100’s to low $1,000
$$$$ – many $1,000’s/full replacement

Electric Heat Pump Problems

In moderate temperatures San Diego experiences throughout the year, electric might be the best option. It operates at the highest efficiency, and offers the lowest installation costs. Since nowhere in San Diego dips below freezing, heat pumps are rarely limited in their effectiveness by climate.

My Heat Pump Doesn’t Run at All

You can DIY common issues for an outdoor unit that is not running. This includes a thermostat not being set properly, an emergency shut-off switch or blown fuse/circuit breaker. Check your condensate pump to make sure it’s not unplugged.

However, issues that might require a service call include a broken contactor/capacitorcontrol modulebad cable/wiring or a faulty relay.

Cost: $-$$

Blown fuses and improperly functioning thermostats can be DIY fixed, however, many of the other fixes can range in the low- to mid-hundreds.

 Thermostat malfunctions are a common cause of heat pump issues. To just make sure it’s sending a signal, set it at 5 degrees higher than your typical setting. Make sure your wires are properly mounted on their respective screws. 

My Heat Pump Freezes

If your heat pump is covered in ice, shut it down! A couple things you can do on your own include:

  • Changing your dirty filters
  • Checking your indoor air registers to ensure they’re not blocked
  • Clean away debris that could be preventing airflow
  • Check your gutters – clogged gutters could cause water overflow on your outside unit.
  • Add refrigerant or replace the defrost timer.

Cost To Repair Frozen Heat Pump: $-$$

Typically, a frozen heat pump is due to external factors. A simple air filter change or gutter cleaning could free up the flow of air. Adding refrigerant or replacing a defrost timer can be a tad more expensive, but it shouldn’t break your bank.

My Heat Pump Blower Doesn’t Work

This is likely an issue with the limit switch located below the plenum (the box that gives heat to your duct system), or a thermostat problem. You can change your heat pump limit switch, which is designed to shut off when the plenum gets too hot.

See your instruction manual for details or make a service call to reset the pointers on the fan side of the limit control.

If the blower motor is running but there’s no air, you probably have a belt issue.

Cost To Repair Heat Pump Blower: $-$$

A fan limit switch or thermostat typically cost under $100.

Heating System Repairs

Heat pump issues? One of the first things you should check is your thermostat.

My Heat Pump Is Short- or Long-Cycling

Your outside unit may be overheating. Check your air filters and thermostat. It is possible your thermostat isn’t properly calibrated or has been placed too close or far from a heat source.

Cost: $-$$$$

An overheating unit could require a replacement, however, a simple thermostat fix can be taken care of quite easily. 

My Heat Pump Makes Odd Noises

Squealing/Grinding Noise – you might have an issue with the motor bearings. This isn’t a DIY fix. Call us!

Rattling – your heat pump’s cover panel might be loose, or your ductwork isn’t well connected. This might be a DIY fix, depending on where your loose ductwork is located. Knowing where to find it might require an expert, though. It depends on how long you’ve lived in your home, and how well you know the layout. 

Popping Noise – this sound is possibly expansion from your ductwork. This sound can be very common, especially in cold months when pressure contracts your ducts. It’s likely not a major issue, but check with your local HVAC contractor to make sure. Each home is structurally different. 

Cost: $-$$$

Simple noises don’t always require an immediate fix. But if you are in need of new ductwork, you could be facing an expensive project – up to $55/linear foot. 

Mathematical Evidence: Save Your Investment With Maintenance 

Here’s something to think about. Maybe you could get away for a year without changing the oil on your car. 

But would you pay a couple hundred dollars annually to ensure that car lasted an extra three, five, or even seven years? The eventual thousands you’d save on major repairs, or purchasing a new vehicle years earlier than you’d prefer, more than balance the short-term spend.