If you live in a place where it gets very hot during summer and chilly during winters, you must have installed a heat pump at home. It is a blessing for many because it is inexpensive to run and does not burn a hole in your pocket by making you pay a hefty electricity bill. And if you use solar panels for electricity, you can save even more money on electricity. But like all machines, your heat pump can have a bad day too and might stop working. But that’s not really a cause to raise an alarm just yet because it can be fixed, sometimes even on your own. But before we discuss that, let’s first understand what a heat pump is and how it works because it will help you understand what is wrong and how it can be fixed.
What is a Heat Pump?
A heat pump, or a mini-split, is a two-component electrical appliance that uses electricity and refrigeration technique to provide heating and cooling for homes and other spaces. A heat pump comprises of two components –an indoor unit and a condenser unit. While the indoor unit, sometimes referred to as air handler, stays inside of the space and is fixed on a wall to pass the hot or cool air, the condenser unit or the outdoor unit, is kept outside of the home to produce the heating or cooling process.
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How Does It Work?
A heat pump works by using electricity and refrigerant to transfer heat from one place to another, depending on the season. For example, when the temperature outside is cold, a heat pump extracts the outside heat and transfers it to the refrigeration coolant. The coolant is then compressed and the heat is transferred inside your home through the indoor unit. The process gets reversed when its hot outside and you need to cool your home. The heat pump then works like an air conditioner by removing the heat from your home and replacing it with cool air.
Why Choose a Heat Pump?
A heat pump has a high energy efficiency rate because it does not generate heat, instead just moves it. Also, it saves on fuel costs unlike other HVAC systems, because it uses electricity to power the fans, pump, and compressor.
What Do If There Is a Problem with My Heat Pump?
Most heat pump problems are caused by thermostat problems sometimes thermostat not properly working. And it’s pretty common to encounter technical problems with these large appliances. While you might need a technician’s help if the problem is serious, in most cases, you can fix the problem yourself. But for that, you need to identify the issue first. Most of the times the problem is usually with the outdoor unit that refuses to start in such case outside ac unit is not running but inside is working.
Here’s what you can do if you face a similar situation in the future.
Identify the Causes And Find a Solution
There could be many reasons why the outdoor unit of the heat pump won’t turn on.
- The Thermostat is not sending a signal:
This could be one of the causes and so, you must check the thermostat selections first and ensure that it is set to the desired temperature. To find out if the thermostat is functioning well set the heat setting above the room temperature (at least 5 degrees). Wait for a bit, and then check whether warm air is being blown out of the vents. If warm air blows, the thermostat is functioning fine. If not, there might be a blown fuse or tripped circuit breaker causing the problem.
- The Thermostat might be in Emergency Heat Mode:
When the thermostat is set in an emergency heat mode, it shuts down the heating element as well as the refrigeration system. This leads to the outdoor fan motor getting shut down completely. This can be fixed by you because all you need to do is reset the thermostat to its normal operation mode.
- The outdoor unit is covered in ice:
In extremely cold weather, the outdoor unit can get covered in ice but the defrost cycle starts to melt the ice periodically. To get rid of the frost, the heat pump turns off the outdoor fan motor. It then turns on the heating elements of the unit and sets the system to cooling mode. This could lead to the failure of the system and also damage the heating system. To prevent this from happening, turn off the heat pump and melt the ice by using water. Avoid using sharp objects to remove the ice because it might damage the coils. Ensure that the return-air registers are not blocked and the filter isn’t clogged.
- Power fluctuations:
Power fluctuations can often cause the outdoor unit to stop functioning. A power surge can cause the tripping of a circuit breaker or blow off a fuse. But it can be repaired by you at home. For a blown fuse, all you need to do is replace it. And for a tripped circuit breaker, check whether any of the circuit breaker switches have flipped. Then, switch it off and restart it. This should fix your problem.
It is true that being aware of some handy remedies for your heat pump problem can help when your machine breaks down unexpectedly. But you must always remember that routine maintenance is of prime importance to prevent breakdowns and increase the lifespan of your heat pump. So, you must not miss it. Also, if you feel that the problem is serious, do not hesitate to call a technician over because a serious malfunction could cause permanent damage to your heat pump.