Heat Pump Compressor Not Turning On – What To Do?

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As a homeowner, you may have noticed that your heat pump is not turning on but are unsure of how to solve the problem. Fortunately, we have consulted experts in this field, and here is what they have to say.

A heat pump compressor not turning could be a result of different problems. Here are things to do if this issue arises:

  • Check your unit's power supply.
  • Clean your compressor 
  • Check for refrigerant leaks.
  • Check your valves.
  • Check your capacitor and starter relays.
  • Check your home's outside temperature.

You can easily tackle this problem without the help of a professional. Keep reading to get detailed information on things you can do to solve the problem of a faulty heat pump compressor.

HVAC heating and air conditioning residential units or heat pumps, Heat Pump Compressor Not Turning On - What To Do?

What Should I Do If My Heat Pump Compressor Stops Turning On?

There are a lot of things that can go wrong with the heat pump compressor, and detecting the source of the problem might be difficult. The following are the things you can do to get your heat pump functioning again:

Check Your Unit's Power Supply

If your heat pump compressor refuses to start, the first thing you should do is to check if it has power. Take a close look at the wiring in the unit, paying particular attention to the cabling that links it to a power outlet. 

Clean Your Compressor 

If dirt and debris accumulate in the filters, evaporators, or condensers, the compressor may fail. Airflow can be restricted due to a clogged filter, and the evaporator coil may freeze and stop working. Condenser coils, filters, and supply vents should be regularly cleaned, replaced, or washed. 

Check For Refrigerant Leaks

Technician checking air conditioning operation, detecting refrigerant leaks.

The compressor and refrigerant work together to remove cold while heating the home. Whenever the refrigerant levels are too low, the compressor will not start. Coolant leaks greatly affect how an HVAC system works.

Also, home comfort can be affected when leaks occur. If you fail to stop the leak, you risk being affected by some health problem. The problem should be tackled as soon as possible.

Check Your Valves

Examine the compressor valves for damage. Compressors become bad when the valves are having issues. Over time, the valves that convey the refrigerant can wear out, causing the system to fail.

Refrigerants will not be converted into gas before they enters the compressor inlet if the valve fails. Fortunately, faulty valves can be easily changed, and replacing them solves the problem.

Check Your Capacitor And Starter Relays

The compressor needs the capacitor and starter relays to work properly. Due to their high failure rates, these components need to be examined when troubleshooting. The components are easy to replace.

Check out this capacitor on Amazon.

Consider working on the capacitor and starter relays if you can.

Check Your Home's Outside Temperature

There is a chance that your HVAC system will start working beyond its capacity if your area is seeing a cold snap. When the air becomes very cold, for your heat pump to warm it properly, the heat comes on.

The auxiliary heat needs a lot of electricity and if overworked may trip the breaker. The best thing to do in this situation is to reduce the heat and put on a sweater. When the temperature goes back to normal, you should contact an electrician to increase the capacity of your heating system.

Mini-split heating and air conditioning system outdoor condenser units. A modern heat pump, this unit heats a house in winter and cools in the summer.

Why Isn't My Heat Pump Compressor Turning On?

If the compressor in your heat pump is not turning on, the problem is either with the power supply, the amount of refrigerant in the system, or an issue with the compressor valves. 

Fortunately, you don't necessarily need the assistance of a specialist to handle some of these issues. The following are possible reasons why your heat pump compressor is not turning on:

Clogged Coil And Filter

An accumulation of dirt and debris might cause the entire unit to shut down due to overheating. The evaporator coil ceases to operate when the air filter gets blocked.

Clogged filters increase the pressure on the compressor. In such case, the compressor will shut down itself.

Check out these air filters on Amazon.

Faulty Capacitor And Starter Relay

Most compressor problems are caused by bad starter relays and capacitors. For the compressor to get electricity from the capacitors, the starter relay needs to function properly. The compressor won't start if these components are faulty.

Lack Of Power

Lack of power is among the major reasons why a compressor isn't working. It is always possible that the breaker has tripped or the fuse is blown and power isn't getting to the heat pump compressor. 

How Long Should A Heat Pump Compressor Last?

Compressors are known to be reliable, particularly in highly developed heat pump systems. Most compressors can last for about 12 to 15 years or even longer. However, the durability of a compressor depends on how often you maintain it and the kind of operational conditions it undergoes.

Most of the time, if the compressor stops working properly, this means that there is an underlying problem that needs to be fixed. To ensure that the compressor lasts as long as possible, regular maintenance is essential. 

What Is The Cost To Replace A Compressor In A Heat Pump?

Replacing your heat pump compressor can be expensive. The all-in-one replacement for this large component may cost about $3,400 depending on its specific configuration. 

The price of a brand-new heat pump compressor can be anything from $1,500 to over $2,400. To obtain the total cost of replacing the compressor, it is necessary to add the price of the labor which can be anything from $50 to $150 per hour. 

The cost of labor accounts for forty to sixty percent of the total amount required to replace the compressor. 

What Does A Bad Heat Pump Compressor Sound Like?

If you hear noises coming from your compressor, this always indicates that your heat pump needs maintenance. Buzzing, rattling, or vibrating of loose parts is a common type of noise coming from the compressors. 

Problems with the heat pump's electrical components can also produce a popping sound. When a motor is failing, it may buzz or vibrate. Additionally, a faulty valve or relay may generate noises like a hiss, whoosh, or vibration.

In the case that you hear any of these noises, you should immediately contact an expert to prevent the problem from getting worse.

How Do You Reset A Heat Pump Compressor?

To reset a heat pump compressor, all you have to do is disconnect the power supply to the heat pump. Then press the reset button on your unit.

If your heat pump does not have a button that allows you to reset it, you can use the power switch. Turning off the switch, waiting for two to three minutes, and then turning it back on is all it takes to reset your heat pump.

Will My Heat Pump Work Without Compressor?

When the heat pump compressor begins to malfunction, the entire operation of the system will be affectedIf the compressor system in your heat pump is bad either due to an electrical defect or refrigerant leakages, you will need to replace the entire unit especially if you are using an old refrigerant.

You should also seal the leak and refill the system with new refrigerant, depending on the type of refrigerant. 

two heat pumps next to the house

Do Heat Pump Compressors Run In Winter?

Heat pump compressors run in winter. Although a heat pump is similar to an air conditioner in many ways, it has the distinction of being able to reverse the flow of refrigerant, which causes the indoor and outside coils to perform different roles. 

The heat pump compressor (located in the external unit) will continue to run in winter weather so that the refrigerant can be placed under high pressure and high temperature. 

Additionally, the outside unit's fans must be running so that the refrigerant can pull in the outside air, evaporate it, and then bring it inside.

Final Takeaway

Air conditioner outside of house

If you notice that your heat pump compressor isn't working, you should check your unit's power supply, compressor, leaks, valves, and capacitor. You can contact a professional if you are finding it difficult to fix the problem.

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