Heat Pump Buzzing And Fan Not Turning – What To Do?

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The heat pump keeps your home comfortable all year round when it works correctly as it condenses the role of a furnace and AC into one compact unit. But it may sometimes fail to operate as expected. Is your heat pump buzzing, and the fan is not turning? Are you wondering how you can resolve this? We inquired from the experts, and this is what we found out.

If you discover that the heat pump is buzzing and the fan is not turning, inspect for any large particles that would hinder the fan's movement. If there is no stuck debris, give the fan blades a push and observe if the fan turns. Call an HVAC technician if the fan still fails to spin, as you may need to replace the fan.

Delve in to learn how to diagnose a heat pump that is buzzing and the fan is not turning. We will also discuss choosing the right heat pump for your home and the maintenance required. So let's get right in.

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Diagnosing A Heat Pump That Is Buzzing And The Fan Is Not Turning

Although heat pumps produce some noise when in use, a buzzing sound is a cause for concern. This sound often indicates that a heat pump component, such as the fan, cannot move.

Fan of outdoor or heat pump compressor air conditioner

The fan expedites air circulation, enabling temperature regulation. Ideally, the fan spins until the indoor temperature matches the pre-determined thermostat settings. It then goes off when the home's indoor temperature reaches the desired level. At this point, the heat pump also goes off.

It is prudent to act promptly when you hear the buzzing sound. Continued use of a malfunctioning heat pump can increase the repair costs since other parts, like the compressor, become susceptible to damage.


These are some of the reasons why the fan may fail to spin.

Lodged Debris

The heat pump has an outdoor condenser unit and an indoor air handling unit. It is not uncommon for sticks from a tree within the unit's vicinity, a bird's nest, or other large dirt particles to stick on the fan blades in the outdoor unit, impairing their movement.

Defective Fan Motor

The fan comprises fan blades and a motor. The motor powers the blades, thus enabling them to turn. For this reason, the fan may fail to rotate if the motor is malfunctioning.


Air conditioner maintenance, fan off of the top of condenser coil

Examine The Fan For Embedded Rubble

Scrutinize the fan blades for any intruders that can impair movement. It is easy to spot the particles since most of them are sizeable.

To remove the unwanted component inside the air handler, proceed as follows:

  1. Disconnect the heat pump from the power source as a precautionary measure. Switching off the heat pump will help you to avoid hurting yourself if the fan starts turning once you get rid of the obstacle.
  2. Remove the heat pump's cabinet to ease the accessibility of the rubble.
  3. Use a tool or a stick to dislodge the obstacle. Do not use your fingers to avoid accidentally cutting yourself.
  4. Replace the cabinet.

Give The Fan A Slight Push

If no unwanted elements hinder the fan's movement, you can use a stick to give the blades a slight push and observe if the blades start spinning. Do not nudge the blades with your fingers.

If the nudge resolves the problem, the fan's motor may be in the initial stages of failing. Therefore, it is best to plan a replacement as soon as possible.

Call An HVAC Professional

Supposing none of the above remedies resolve the problem, call your local service center and schedule an appointment with an HVAC technician. Perhaps the fan's motor or its capacitor is dead.

The professional has the right tools to diagnose your heat pump. They are also equipped with the technical know-how to resolve the problem seamlessly.

How To Pick A Befitting Heat Pump For Your Home

Air conditioner outside of house

Heat pumps are remarkably environmentally friendly since they draw and move heat from the surrounding environment rather than burn fuel. They are also highly energy-efficient. Thus, the heat pump technology is worth considering if you need to upgrade your HVAC system.

Is A Heat Pump System Suitable For Your Home?

Heat pumps are best suited to operate in areas with moderate climates, where the winter temperatures rarely plummet below freezing point.

But you can still install the heat pump and use it alongside heating devices like a furnace if you live in a location with extremely harsh winters. This arrangement lets you switch to the alternative heating appliance when it is freezing.

By combining the heat pump and a heating appliance, you will have a more efficient HVAC system and also keep your home warm in the chilly weather.

Factors To Consider When Choosing A Heat Pump

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You should correctly size your heat pump since an undersized unit will struggle to maintain comfortable temperatures in your home.

In contrast, if you oversize a non-variable speed heat pump model, it will cycle more times than necessary, increasing the wear rate. Furthermore, it is more expensive to buy and operate a bigger unit. For this reason, you will end up wasting your hard-earned money.

Ask a certified contractor to do a load calculation in line with recognized criteria to determine what heat pump size will work best for your home.

Efficiency Rating

Install a heat pump that uses the least energy to achieve your desired comfort level. Check the Heating Seasonal Performace Factor (HSPF) and the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) to pick an ideal appliance.

The HSPF measures the efficiency in heating mode while SEER measures the efficiency in cooling mode. But even though there is no direct relationship between the two ratings, appliances with a high SEER rating also tend to have a high HSPF rating.

The higher the ratings, the more energy efficient the unit will be. It is best to consider the SEER rating if you live in warm climates and the HSPF rating for heat pumps installed in cold temperatures.

Although the energy-efficient heat pumps require a hefty initial investment, the operating costs are lower. In addition, these appliances may have more competent tax incentives than heat pumps that are less efficient.

Peruse this article to discover: What Is A Good SEER Rating For A Heat Pump?

Compressor Type

Generally, high-efficiency heat pumps have variable-speed compressors. Because the variable-speed compressor moves smaller bits of heat all the time, its energy consumption is lower than that of single-speed compressors, which quickly transfer a lot of heat instantly.  

The variable-speed compressor self-adjusts over time, maintaining suitable temperature and relative humidity levels in the home. Hence, the indoor temperature in your home remains relatively stable.

What Maintenance Does A Heat Pump Need?

Proper maintenance ensures the heat pump runs efficiently and operates optimally all year round. 

Change Filters

Hvac maintenance technician removing a diry air filter from a heat pump

Filters trap dirt, dust, and other allergens and keep them from being released into the indoor air. The trapped dirt then builds up on the filter over time. If you let the dirt accumulate, it can constrict air circulation, forcing the heat pump to over-work to maintain comfortable temperatures in the home.

Typically, it would be best to change the filters monthly to enhance the heat pump's operation. But you can vary this frequency to suit your lifestyle while considering factors such as the size of the home and whether you have pets.

Clear The Area Around The Outdoor Unit

Maintain adequate clearance around the condenser unit to enhance air circulation and minimize the possibility of debris lodging in your appliance and damaging it. Furthermore, keeping the area around the heat pump clear eases its accessibility.

Poor air circulation exerts unnecessary pressure on the system, thus increasing its energy consumption. Additionally, ice may build up on the outdoor coils without proper airflow during winter.

Schedule Routine Maintenance Checks

Ask an HVAC technician to service your heat pump annually. During the routine visit, the professional can:

  • Assess whether the thermostat is working correctly.
  • Examine for duct leakage and repair it.
  • Clean the coils.
  • Test whether the refrigerant is leaking and recharge it.
  • Lubricate motors.
  • Examine heat pump components for wear.
  • Scrutinize the condition of the drain pan holes and clean them.
  • Check the condition and functionality of the electrical control.

In Closing

plumber at work installing a circulation heat pump

Sometimes, restoring the proper functionality of a heat pump that is buzzing and the fan is not turning may only need you to remove the obstacle. But a fan that is not spinning may also indicate a failing motor which would require the expertise of a certified technician to rectify.

Because a heat pump is a substantial investment geared at ensuring that you maintain comfortable conditions, carefully assess whether this system will work well for your home. Also, select the right appliance size and opt for a high-efficiency appliance to maximize savings on operational costs.

If this article was informative, please see our other topic on heat pumps: Heat Pump Freezing Up In Winter – What To Do? 


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