Temperatures are soon going to start to cool down here in the Des Moines area. We hope that you’ve followed our advice from last week and gave your heating system a test run since it’s a good way to help diagnose possible repair issues that you need to have a schedule before winter. (Even better is to make sure that you don’t miss regular fall heating maintenance!)
If you have a heat pump, a possible issue that you might encounter when you switch it over to its heating mode is that it… just won’t heat. A heat pump that becomes trapped in one mode or the other is a problem that sometimes crops up. We’ll look at why the may happen—and what to do about it.
Heat pump mode switching problems
The first thing that you should check if you find that you’re only receiving cool or room temperature air from a heat pump when you switch into heating mode is the thermostat. It’s possible that the thermostat is still following a previously set program so that when you want it to change to heating, it’ll simply switch back to cooling a few minutes later. Make sure that you have the new programming set.
It’s possible that you have a malfunctioning thermostat. This happens when the thermostat loses its connection to the heat pump’s reversing valve, which makes it impossible for the thermostat to make the heat pump change from one mode to the other. You can’t fix this problem on your own: call repair technicians to either fix the thermostat or replace it with a new one.
The most common malfunction that can result in a heat pump that won’t move to heat mode is a broken reversing valve. If this valve is stuck in one position, the heat pump will not be able to change the direction that refrigerant moves through the system, and it will remain in its current mode. Technicians can sometimes repair the valve, but in most cases, it is simpler and quicker to have a new reversing valve put in.
Finally, failure to provide heating or cooling can mean trouble with the compressor. A compressor can become stuck or even burn out, in which case the heat pump will not be able to work in either mode, only send out room temperature air. Compressor issues must be repaired as soon as possible, or else the compressor will need to be replaced—and this is one of the most expensive repairs for a heat pump.