Heat Pump Not Keeping Up – What To Do?

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The heat pump is one of the most important appliances at home, especially if you live in a cold region. If for any reason your heat pump suddenly doesn't keep up, we've asked experts what to do. Here is their reply.

Your heat pump may not keep up due to technical problems or environmental problems. To address this, you would need to utilize a simple troubleshooting procedure. Here's what you should do. 

  • Inspect your thermostat
  • Check the electric supply 
  • Clean your air filter
  • Check the pump system 
  • Inspect the refrigerant

There are various factors that can cause a heat pump malfunction. Keep reading to learn about these factors and ways you can troubleshoot your heat pump. 

Outdoor air conditioning and heat pump units, Heat Pump Not Keeping Up - What To Do?

Heat Pump [Importance and Uses at Home]

A heat pump is a piece of electrical equipment that moves heat from one space to another. You could use a heat pump to transfer heat from outside into a residence.

Heat pump

A heat pump can also be used to transmit heat from inside a residence to outside to lower its temperature. A heat pump applies compression and exchange to raise or lower the temperature in the air. 

Heat pumps are useful in homes, not only because of their basic functions but also because of the additional benefits. Some additional benefits of a heat pump are as follows:

  1. A heat pump can perform the functions of a furnace and an air conditioning system. This means it can both raise and lower the temperature in a residence.
  2. A heat pump provides yearlong convenience as it cools in the summer and heats up in the winter. 
  3. A heat pump is cost-effective as it is a single alternative to both a furnace and an air conditioning system; it ameliorates the need to invest in separate heating and cooling systems. Nevertheless, a heat pump cannot produce as much heat as a furnace or provide enough cold as an air conditioning system. 
  4. A heat pump is also energy-saving as it uses less energy compared to the dual combination of a cooling and heating system. 

Reasons Why Your Heat Pump Can't Keep Up

Your heat pump may not be keeping up because of issues with its components. Here is a list of components and how they may be affected:

Thermostat is Malfunctioning

HVAC Technician repairing digital heating and cooling thermostat

Your thermostat may be incorrectly accessing the temperature or it may simply be malfunctioning due to wrong installation. Whatever the case is, you may need to examine the thermostat to be sure. You should require the assistance of a professional in changing your thermostat. 

Problems With Electric Supply

A heat pump is an electrical machine and may malfunction if the necessary voltage of electricity is not supplied to its system. If this is the case, the breaker may also be in a bad shape and may need to be replaced. 

Heat Pump System is Blocked

A heat pump moves air from outside to inside and vice versa. If the system is blocked,  air may be prevented from moving properly through the ducts. In this case, you would need to clean your heat pump. 

The Air Filter is Filthy 

A dirty air filter can impede the proper functioning of your heat pump. This is because debris in the air filter would prevent the proper movement of air to the compressor. You should examine your air filter and take out the dirt and dust from it  

Refrigerant is Running Out

Your heat pump requires refrigerants to keep your home warm. Thus, your heat pump may not be keeping up if it is low on refrigerant. You should refill your refrigerant if you discover that it is running out. It is also important that you check for leaks in the system. 

Environmental Issues That Prevent Heat Pumps From Keeping Up

The temperature in the environment, whether hot or cold, can affect the functioning of your heat pump. This is essentially true in periods of extreme temperatures such as summer or winter. 

Why Is My Heat Pump Not Keeping Up In Winter? 

Air conditioning in winter

As mentioned previously,  a heat pump takes heat and moves it from outside to inside a residence to keep it warm; and from inside a residence to outside to keep it cold. Thus, in winter when it is usually cold, the performance of your heat pump may be affected as it is harder for a heat pump to transmit heat from one space to another. 

Moreover, the extremely low temperatures outside may cause ice to form on the components of the heat pump outside, causing airflow restriction, malfunction, and or damage. 

Why Is My Heat Pump Not Keeping Up In Summer? 

Your heat pump is not keeping up in summer as it needs to exert more effort in moving heat from inside your residence to outside. This may also mean that you run out of refrigerants much faster.

On the other hand, it has been found that a heat pump may be frozen even in the summer, which may affect its functioning. 

Heat Pump Troubleshooting [ How to Fix Heat Pump Not Keeping Up]

It is important that you troubleshoot your heat pump in order to know where the problem is coming from. Here is a step-by-step process you should follow to troubleshoot your heat pump:

Examine The Thermostat

Electrician fitting a thermostat system

The thermostat signals to the heat pump the temperature which is desired at that time. When your heat pump is not working properly, you should consider examining the thermostat. It is important that you examine the power supply to the thermostat.

This can be ascertained by examining whether the thermostat displays or not. It is equally significant that you inspect the batteries. You should replace the old batteries with new ones. You should also examine the electronic panel.

The problem may simply be solved by fixing or replacing the controlling power. Finally, set your thermostat to the right temperature. Experts suggest that you set your thermostat to above 77 degrees in summer; and between 67 degrees and 70 degrees in winter

Examine The Power Supply System

Each part of your heat pump has its power circuit. You should examine the power switch which is situated near or on the air handler inside, the switch which is situated outside your residence as well as the breaker and fuse. Make sure each of these is switched on and in order. You should replace any damaged parts. 

Examine The Heat Pump System

Your heat pump may not be keeping up because its system is clogged with dirt, dust, and debris. You may be able to clean the system yourself or you may require the assistance of a professional. 

Examine The Airfilters

Professional repair service man or diy home owner removing a dirty air filter on a house air conditioner so he can replace it with a new clean one

The next things you would need to inspect are the air filters. Clean dirty or dusty air filters. Replace damaged air filters. 

Inspect The Refrigerant

You would need to seek the assistance of a heat pump professional to examine your refrigerant. He or she would also be able to help you refill if your refrigerant is low. 

Troubleshooting Your Heat Pump in Winter

The best way to keep your home warm during winter may be to find a supplementary system, such as the addition of a furnace system only for the winter. 

During winter if your heat pump is frozen due to the low temperatures, you should increase your thermostat above 70°. You may also want to activate the defrost cycle. 

Troubleshooting Your Heat Pump in Summer

Running your heat pump in the summer may cause it to expend extra effort and refrigerant. You could install an air conditioning system to run during the summer to help support your heat pump. In a situation where your heat pump is frozen, you may also activate the defrost cycle and increase the desired temperature on your thermostat.

How Long Should it Take to Heat a House 2 Degree? 

While the period it would take to heat a house to 2 degrees may vary depending on the functioning of a heat pump and the weather, most experts agree that it should take between 10 and 20 minutes.

How Long Should a Heat Pump Run in Winter?

While the time a heat pump should be activated in winter varies on the stability of the weather conditions, it is generally accepted that it should run all day due to the extreme temperatures associated with the season. 

Should I Run My Heat Pump on AUTO or Heat? 

You might assume that setting your heat pump to AUTO would be sufficient for heating. However, this is not the case. If you choose AUTO, your heat pump would be erratically switching between its heating and cooling function as natural temperatures vary over time. 

To Wrap Up

Technical problems in your heat pump as well as weather conditions can affect the functioning of your heat pump. What you need to do is to troubleshoot and follow the instructions above to solve this problem. You can always call an HVAC professional for more complex repairs. 

To read more about heat pumps, check out these articles: 

How Much Ice is Too Much on a Heat Pump

Heat Pump Heats But Does Not Cool - What is Wrong?

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