A cold day on Long Island can seem even colder when you switch on your home’s heat pump and realize that the temperature inside isn’t getting any warmer. Heat pump troubleshooting is a process of trial-and-error that requires a little patience, and there are a few factors that you can check before calling an HVAC expert.
First, switch on the heat pump at the thermostat and select the “Heat” setting. Make sure the fan or blower switch is set to “Auto.” Your next step depends on how the system responds.
If the system fails to circulate any air at all:
- Inspect the circuit breakers or fuses for the heat pump. Switch the system off at the thermostat before resetting any open breakers or replacing fuses that have burned out.
- Check any maintenance electrical quick disconnects on the system to make sure they are properly seated. Quick disconnects are usually located near the air handler and the condenser, and have a “T” shaped contactor that you can pull out to interrupt power to the system.
If the air handler activates, but circulates unheated air:
- Inspect the filter in the air handler. Replace it if it is dirty or clogged. In some types of heat pumps, a dirty filter can cause pressure buildups that result in the system shutting itself down.
- Check the condenser unitâ€”the outside component of the systemâ€”to see if it’s operating. Check the electrical quick disconnect leading to the condenser. If the disconnect is secure, return to the thermostat and switch your system off. Open the breaker or turn off the fuse to your heat pump; then wait 10 minutes and reconnect the power. Turn on the system at the thermostat and see if the condenser starts. This “hard” cycling of the power connection sometimes clears errors on the condenser’s control circuit board, which allows the system to run properly.
If you have questions about the heat pump-troubleshooting process, or if you would like to speak to a heating professional about a repair or maintenance issue, please contact us at T.F. O’Brien Cooling & Heating. Serving Long Island, Queens, and Brooklyn 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.
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