How Long Should A Heat Pump Run Per Day?

A heat pump plays a vital role in heating and cooling your home. However, how long should a heat-up run per day be efficient? We have researched this question to help you determine if your heat pump is running correctly.

Typically, a heat pump should cycle two to three times an hour. The heat pump should stay on for 10 to 20 minutes during the cycle. However, during cold outside temperatures (below 30-40 degrees), a heat pump will constantly run to maintain the home temperature.

Knowing how your heat pump cycles ensure that you aren't wasting energy. This article will look at how a heat pump functions and how often it should cycle. In addition, we will answer other frequently asked questions about heat pumps in a household, so read on!

A highly efficient air heat pump on the side of the house, How Long Should A Heat Pump Run Per Day?

How Long Should A Heat Pump Run Per Day?

A heat pump operates by moving your surplus energy to your home. When there is a massive temperature difference, the air conditioner will push hot air to the cold side, make it colder and deliver cold air throughout your home.

The same goes for the heater; when there is a big difference between cold air inside your home and outside air, your heat pump will move the cold air inside. In a nutshell, a heat pump system transfers your surplus energy to your house and delivers it throughout the house as hot or cold air.

A heat pump typically has two to three cycles an hour. The system will stay on for 10 to 20 minutes during the cycle. This time frame is sufficient to deliver your surplus energy (the difference between inside and outside temperature) throughout your home.

However, it is common for a heat pump to run constantly during the winter. The reason being is the heat pump is working overtime to maintain a warm temperature in the home.

The heat pump can only operate at one [or several] set temperatures throughout the day. With that being said, when you are comfortable inside your home, the heating system will maintain it compared with any extreme fluctuations in temperature.

A highly efficient heat pump outside the house

What does it mean if my heat pump is short cycling?

When a heat pump short cycles, this is a warning sign something is wrong with the system. Short cycling often occurs when there is a problem with your heat pumps, such as low refrigerant levels or an issue with the inverter board.

The first step to diagnose your problem would be to inspect and clean your outdoor condenser unit and air filter. If that doesn't do the trick, then you should contact a professional to take a closer look at your heat pump system.

If your heat pump is cycling too frequently, it may also be trying to maintain two or more different temperatures within your home. Ensuring that your thermostat is set the same throughout the house will help keep this from happening.

Is it normal for a heat pump to run all the time?

The answer to this question is yes and no. Yes, it is normal for a heat pump to run all the time when the outside temperatures are below 30-40 degrees. So, don't be worried if your heat pump is running all the time during the winter months!

However, if your heat pump is running during the summer, there could be a problem with the heat pump. If this is the case, it would be good to contact a professional for help.

A woman sipping hot coffee while watching the snow fall outside

Should I turn off my heat pump at night?

Typically, you should leave your heat pump set to a specific temperature while you sleep because it will help maintain a comfortable temperature in your home. However, if the temperature drops too low during the night and your heat pump turn off, there is a possibility that your system could freeze up and break down. This would ultimately lead to costly repair bills.

Instead of turning off the heat pump, you should set your home temperature to a specific temperature that is comfortable for you and your family. This will maintain a consistent temperature and help the heat pump run efficiently. Turning it off will cause the temperatures to drop drastically, and your heat pump will work extra to bring the temperature back up.

Just make sure that you have a programmable thermostat to set a specific temperature throughout the day while everyone is away from home. That way, no one has to come home to a boiling hot house or a cold one.

Plus, if you constantly turn your heat pump on and off, you could spike electrical bills. This is because your heat pump has to start up every time you turn it off, which uses more energy.

What temperature should I set my heat pump to?

When it comes to efficiency, 68 degrees is considered the best temperature for your heat pump. At this temperature, most homes will have a steady flow of air throughout the house. If you find that your home is too hot at 68 degrees, you could lower it a degree or two and still be comfortable.

Remember to keep what you are wearing when setting your heat pump temperature. Also, remember that 68 degrees is only an average number, and some people may be comfortable at a higher or lower temperature.

Nonetheless, the temperature you choose is based on your comfort. However, you should never set your heat pump above 80 degrees. Doing this will cause your electric bill to skyrocket and make your system work harder than it needs to.

Adjusting the temperature in the thermostat

What temperature should I set my heat pump in the winter?

As mentioned earlier, 68 degrees is the sweet spot to set your heat pump to. However, if you want more heat in the home, you can move it up to 70-72 degrees. Again, you could go higher or lower if this temperature is not ideal for your home.

How do I know if my heat pump is bad?

If your heat pump doesn't seem like it is working right then, there are some warning signs you should look for. Let's take a look at them below:

The blower stops working right

When the blower stops working, this could be a sign that your heat pump is on its last leg. It could also mean that the limit switch needs adjusting. If the blower does not work at all, this could mean that there is a short or overload in your heat pump.

Leaks in system

If you notice a leak in your heat pump, this could be a sign of serious problems. First, if the refrigerant leaks out, it cannot run as efficiently as it should. Secondly, if there is a large amount of water gathering near your unit, you need to get it looked at sooner than later.

Blowing hot air in the summer

If your heat pump is blowing out hot air in the summer, many issues could be. It could mean that your fan is not working correctly, or it means that you need to replace the reversing valve. A faulty reversing valve causes your system to work harder than it should and causes the temperature to rise.

Freezing heat pump in winter/summer

If your heat pump freezes up in the winter, you can expect to see ice building up along the unit. This could mean that the reversing valve is not working correctly. It could also mean too many leaks or a short running through the system. If your heat pump freezes up in the summer, then it means that the refrigerant is leaking.

The condenser fan does not work

If your condenser fan stops working, it could mean that there is a short somewhere in the system or that the capacitor needs to be replaced. In addition, a lack of airflow will cause your heat pump to work harder than it should, and this will lead to higher energy bills.


If your heat pump is short-cycling, it means that the compressor will not shut off. This is terrible for your system because it heats up too much, making it work harder than it should. Short cycling also causes your home's temperature to fluctuate back and forth between hot and cold.

High utility-bills

Utility bills are high when your heat pump is not working correctly. If you find that the bills are too high for no reason, it could be a faulty heat pump.

Heat pump is noisy

If you notice that your heat pump is making strange noises, it could be because the fan motor needs to be replaced. On the other hand, it could also mean too many vibrations and that something needs to be tightened.

Strange smells

If you notice that your heat pump is emanating a strange smell, it could be because the motor needs to be replaced or there is leaking refrigerant.

Not blowing warm air

If your heat pump is not blowing warm air, then it could mean that the thermostat needs to be adjusted. It could also mean that the reversing valve is worn out or too much pressure on the system.

Final Thoughts

A highly efficient air heat pump on the side of the house

Heat pumps will run differently depending on the outside temperature. However, if you notice any warning signs mentioned in this article, it may be time for a replacement. If you aren't sure if your heat pump is working correctly, then contact an HVAC specialist for assistance.

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