Most HVAC experts do not recommend that you troubleshoot your heat pump yourself when a problem develops. In general, the care and diagnosis of this highly technical system should be left to the pros.

But you can take a few simple steps to avoid an unnecessary service call. Try these easy fixes:

When the heat pump doesn’t run at all…

  • Check the thermostat. To cause the heat pump to cycle on, the thermostat setting must be higher than the indoor temperature. Also, make sure the thermostat is set on “heat.”
  • Make sure it has power. Most heat pumps have two corresponding circuit breakers to power the air handler and condenser. If they’re tripped, flip them back to “on.” If the fuse has blown, replace it if you have the expertise. You may also have a circuit dedicated to the heat pump’s backup heating element. Check its condition too.

When the heat pump doesn’t heat properly…

  • Wait a few minutes to see if the air becomes hotter. During defrost mode, a heat pump can release cooler air. Once the cycle’s completed, it should return to emitting a stronger heat.
  • Check the thermostat’s temperature and setting (see tip above).
  • Check the registers around the home. They should be fully open.
  • Inspect the air filter. If it’s dirty, install a fresh filter.

When the heat pump cycles on and off repeatedly…

  • Change the filter. A clogged filter can restrict airflow to the blower.
  • Check the thermostat. It may be improperly calibrated or installed in a place where it can’t accurately read the home’s temperature.

When the heat pump makes unusual noises…

  • Shut the system down immediately if you hear grinding or squealing sounds, which can indicate problems with the bearings in the motor.
  • If it’s a rattling noise, check the service panel on the indoor unit. It may be loose.

Troubleshooting your heat pump? If these tips don’t alleviate the problem, contact the experts at Apollo Home Heating, Cooling & Plumbing. We’ve served homeowners in greater Cincinnati since 1910.

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