Why is my Heat Pump Not Heating?
It's never a good feeling to walk over to your thermostat in the depths of a chilly Texas winter day and realize your heat pump isn't heating. Heat pumps are reliable and time-tested workhorses for cold Texas days and can even give you the luxury of having backup heat in the event that the heat pump itself fails. We answer the basic question, "What is a heat pump?," in a separate blog post. For now though, we'll focus on the service side of why your heat pump isn't doing it's job.
Your Heat Pump Isn't Running
We regularly respond to service calls about a heat pump not heating or not heating well, and in many cases the heat pump simply isn't running. This could be for any number of reasons, but the fact of the matter is that without your heat pump running, you're relying on your auxiliary/backup/emergency heat to warm your home. While backup heat sure is nice to have on a day when your heat pump goes out entirely, it shouldn't be your #1 choice for heating your home.
Low Refrigerant Charge
If your heat pump is running and it's not a blustery cold day, then your refrigerant charge may be off. A low refrigerant charge in a heat pump responds similarly in air conditioning (freezing up, not heating/cooling well, running constantly).
All of these are signs that you may need a little "juice"; however, your HVAC system should not need to be charged every year. As a matter of fact, it should never leak and never need refrigerant. Having to charge a system regularly or even once per year likely means a tiny refrigerant leak and should be addressed by your service technician.
It's Too Cold Outside!
If you backtrack to our What is a Heat Pump post from last week, we address certain situations where a heat pump may not be the best option. Fortunately, a typical Texas winter is made for a heat pump system, or.. A heat pump is made for a typical Texas winter. Either way, a cold day below freezing combined with humidity or precipitation will spell doom for an overworked heat pump.
If it's really cold outside, your heat pump isn't heating, or if it's frosted over with a healthy layer of ice, it may be time to turn on the "emergency heat" setting on your thermostat. If that doesn't get you through the cold spell, then you should call one of our technicians to come troubleshoot your electric furnace.
Your Filter or Condenser is Dirty
A dirty filter or a dirty heat pump condenser could be the culprit in a "heat pump not heating" customer complaint situation. Both of these are a type of airflow issue, but different in the way they work. A dirty filter can cause the refrigerant pressures to get too high because the air moving past your evaporator coil can't be exchanged adequately with the hot refrigerant coming from your heat pump.
On the other hand, a dirty heat pump in and of itself creates a similar problem in that your heat pump cannot exchange the cool outdoor air with the cold refrigerant temperature which can cause your heat pump to freeze up.
With that said, if your heat pump runs for short periods before shutting off then comes back on again, check that your filter is clean and free of debris and make sure that there isn't anything restricting the flow of air through the heat pump itself. Generally speaking, you can simply use a water hose with a sprayer to hose down your condenser to clean any debris, but during the winter months this may cause more harm than good if you're an inexperienced condenser-cleaner-outer.
Stephenville Heat Pump Service
If your heat pump is giving you fits, and you've tried changing your filter and cleaning your condenser coil then it may be best to call Stephenville Heat and Air. One of our service technicians can give your heat pump a thorough servicing and help you get through any cold spell Texas can throw at you!
To make a service call or speak to a technician, give us a call at 254-965-4644.