What do you do when you come home from a hard day at work to find that your heat pump isn’t working?
The first step in troubleshooting heat pumps is to locate the actual problem. Is the heat pump not working at all? Is the blower running but not the compressor? Is the system cycling on far too often and still not cooling properly?
You’ll likely need an expert to diagnose the problem, but you can check a few components before making the call:
Thermostat — Sometimes the solution is as simple as checking the thermostat to see if it’s at the proper setting. First, make sure that the unit is set to cooling, not heating. Many problems with heat pumps can also be traced to a dead battery. Check this first before calling for service.
Breaker switch — If the heat pump is still not operational and the thermostat is fine, then check the breaker switches. There are typically two: One located with the rest of the electrical breakers for your house, and another called the fused disconnect. Start by switching the breakers for the heat pump to “Off,” then back to “On.” The next component you can check is the fused disconnect, typically located by the outside unit. If either circuit breaker trips again, the problem is likely an electrical fault in the circuit, and you’ll need to contact an electrical contractor.
Belt — Heat pumps generally use belts on the blowers to move air. Sometimes this belt will break or become loose. In this case, the heat pump will turn on, and you’ll hear the blower’s motor, but no air will come out. If you feel confident in your abilities to replace the belt, do so. Otherwise, call a pro.
If you have checked all of these components, and you still can’t get the system to operate properly, then it’s time to call for service.
For more expert advice about heat pumps, indoor air quality or comfort, contact T.F. O’Brien Cooling & Heating with your questions. We’ve been serving Long Island since 1934.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.