No one likes being too cold or hot, especially in our own homes. Unfortunately, heat pumps — like any other HVAC system — can occasionally break down. If you think you need a heat pump repair, you’re in the right place.

Here are some of the most common heat pump issues and what to do about them.

The Most Common Problems and Repairs For Heat Pumps

heat pump repair

1. Low Thermostat Batteries

If your heat pump isn’t working right, check the thermostat batteries. Many kinds of heat pump issues can be caused by low or dead batteries in a thermostat. Thermostats often use AA or AAA batteries that should be changed every couple of years, so if you haven’t checked your batteries in a while, that’s likely the source of your trouble.

Changing the batteries in your thermostat is an easy solution that can save you a lot of money on repairs. If that fixes the problem, you won’t need to hire an HVAC contractor and can avoid paying a response fee.

2. Thermostat Setting Issues

You’d be surprised how often people have their thermostats set in the wrong mode or at the wrong temperature. If your heat pump won’t turn on or stays on too long, it’s worth checking that your thermostat is set to your desired temperature.

3. Dirty, Clogged, or Blocked Filters

Without good airflow, your heat pump won’t work very well. A dirty or clogged filter, or even a vent blocked off by furniture, can affect the airflow for your heat pump and other HVAC systems.

In some cases, filter clogging can cause pressure sensors to shut the system down. We usually recommend replacing your HVAC filters every 3-6 months to avoid airflow issues.

4. Tripped Circuit Breakers

Your heat pump can’t run without power, and it won’t have power if the circuit trips. Sometimes, all you need to do to fix your heat pump is reset the breakers, then give the system 10 minutes to reestablish the connection.

If your breakers are tripping frequently, that may be a sign of a more serious problem. You should call a licensed HVAC contractor to diagnose the issue.

5. Lack of Airflow Near the Outdoor Unit

heat pump repair

Heat pumps rely on good airflow around the outdoor unit. Virtually all heat pump manufacturers recommend keeping vegetation and fencing at least three feet away from the unit. If you feel like your heat pump isn’t running efficiently, you may just need to clear some plants or debris away.

While you’re checking the heat pump unit, you can also rinse down the outdoor coil. We recommend rinsing it at least once a year. Simply use the shower setting on your garden hose nozzle and rinse from top to bottom on all sides of the outdoor unit.

6. Defrost Mode Getting in the Way of Functioning

During the colder months, the heat pump will sometimes need to go into defrost mode. When that happens, the fan on top of the outdoor unit will stop turning. However, the compressor will still be running, and you will notice steam coming from the unit.

This cycle can last from a few minutes up to 10 minutes. It’s important, as it melts the frost or ice that accumulates on the outdoor unit while it is running in colder conditions. Once this cycle is over, the system should then turn on and continue regular operation. You don’t need to repair anything — just let the process finish.

Other Heat Pump Repairs

If none of the tips above solve your heat pump problem, it’s time to call a home heating contractor. A professional contractor can examine any parts that may be faulty, diagnose the issue, and fix it without voiding any manufacturer warranties.

Here are some common situations where you should hire a professional to do your heat pump repair:

  • Unusual noises from your heat pump, such as squealing and grinding
  • A blower that isn’t working
  • Outdoor coils that have frozen over and won’t defrost

FAQ: Should My Heat Pump Stop Running When It’s Really Cold? Do I Need a Repair For This?

heat pump repair

Heat pumps usually work together with furnaces because they become less efficient as the temperature drops to extreme cold. The temperature at which they stop running or bring on the furnace depends on what type of heat pump and furnace you’re using.

In Western Washington’s climate, heat pumps that are combined with electric furnaces should run no matter the temperature outside. The heat pump can still generate heat at lower temperatures, but it will bring on the electric portion of your furnace to supplement the heat pump to keep the home warm.

If you have a gas or propane furnace combined with your heat pump, then the heat pump should shut off completely and bring on your furnace for heat when the outdoor temperature hits 30-35 degrees F. Ideally, your contractor should have installed a thermostat that can control your HVAC system with proper wiring and an outdoor temperature sensor. This type of system is commonly referred to as a dual fuel system.

Prevent Repairs With Heat Pump Maintenance

Virtually all manufacturers recommend that you get annual heat pump maintenance done to keep the system running at peak performance and efficiency. If you don’t get professional maintenance done, you may lose your warranty. That means you’ll need to pay more for heat pump repairs or part replacements if a breakdown occurs.

Paragon offers a planned annual maintenance program to help you keep your HVAC systems, including your heat pump, running smoothly. We will check your heat pump for problems, investigate airflow or energy usage issues, and do a thorough cleaning. Our maintenance covers everything needed to give you peace of mind.

Need Help With a Heat Pump Repair?

Paragon Heating and Home Comfort Solutions is an HVAC company with decades of experience helping homeowners with heat pumps. We strive for excellent customer service and high-quality workmanship in all we do.

Our technicians are trained and certified to diagnose and repair heat pumps. We can help you keep your home in Snohomish or East King County comfortable with efficient heat for years to come.