Does My Heat Pump Need Repair?
Heat pumps are pretty unique as far as heating systems go, which means that it can be hard to tell if one needs repairs or not.
They have no pilot lights to check, no burner assembly, no other familiar parts that can be easily examined to tell if there’s a problem. Fortunately, you can still identify repair needs pretty easily if you know where to look. Let’s take a look at some of the most common problems with heat pumps, and how you can identify them.
Heat pumps are able to heat a space by moving heat from one area to another. In the case of home heating, this heat is siphoned from the outside air and into the home. The medium for transporting this thermal energy is refrigerant, which travels between the inside and outside units.
Refrigerant is not used up by the heat pump, and is instead simply transferred between a liquid and gaseous state during operation. This makes leaks in the refrigerant line extremely dangerous, as they rob the heat pump of its refrigerant charge. Without refrigerant, the heat pump will be unable to move thermal energy to heat the home.
Refrigerant leaks are commonly indicated through gurgling noises or pooling liquid around the heat pump. If you notice either of those things, or a steady drop in heating ability, call a professional to inspect your heat pump.
Stuck in One Mode
Heat pumps are capable of both heating and cooling modes, which is a big reason for their popularity. This ability is possible through reversing the direction that refrigerant flows through the system, thus changing which unit siphons heat in and which expels it. The part that enables this ability is called the reversing valve, which sits at a 4-way junction in the heat pump’s refrigerant line.
Inside the reversing valve is a slide, which determines the mode that the heat pump is in by its position. If the slide becomes stuck, as can sometimes happen, the heat pump will become stuck in heating or cooling mode. If your heat pump is stuck in heating or cooling mode, you’ll need to have a professional examine your reversing valve.