If you have a heat pump or are thinking about installing a heat pump into your home to help provide heat you may be worried about the limitations and possible heat pump malfunctions that you may have heard about. Sometimes we find that a client is contacting us thinking that they have a heat pump malfunction when in reality, it’s just fine. So we decided to bring you this resource to help you determine if you have a real problem on your hands or if it really is time to contact us to come fix it!
When your furnace heats air and pushed it into and throughout your home, it uses either gar or electricity to do so. Generally the unit that does this will make noise. Not enough to be a disturbance but generally enough that you notice when it does turn on. A heat pump on the other hand is not as noisy. A heat pump will not make as much noise. A heat pump functions by moving warm air around but they do not heat the air in the same way that a furnace does. So when you live in this climate that we have here in upstate New York, if all you are relying on as a heat source is that heat pump, you will be quickly disappointed.
The good news is that a heat pump will help you in that you will see savings from your utility bill due to the fact that a heat pump costs less than a traditional furnace. We have actually had customers call us thinking that something was wrong with their heat pump because they got their energy bill and it was so low they had to question if it was even running.
Heat pumps are not without limitations. One of these limitations is the effectiveness of the heat pump diminishes as the temperature drops. In this climate will not make the heat pump completely stop working, it just will not heat your home sufficiently compared to the temperatures outside. This is why we often suggest a heat pump as a primary source of heating but keeping a furnace as your back up source of heat for those days and nights that the outside temperature drops.
While there are many signs that your heat pump is malfunctioning the surest sign is that it will not turn on at all! Another sign is that you notice frequent cycling. Heat pumps use an outdoor unit just as air conditioners do and there are times that this outdoor unit becomes frozen over. This can be a huge sign of big trouble and we definitely suggest getting a professional involved ASAP if you notice this issue. Lastly, it is worth mentioning that a heat pump will use the same fans, ducts and some other parts of your HVAC system, and there are times that the heat pump malfunction can be traced all the way back to a dirty air filter.
Our best advise is not to try to troubleshoot and fix this yourself. It’s true that heat pumps are pretty simple but if you suspect that yours is really malfunctioning, it is worth it to call in a professional. The best thing that you can do prior to picking up the phone is to try to turn up your thermostat and see if that makes your heat pump kick on, and check to be sure that the breaker is not tripped. Once you have checked these things make sure that you contact us right away so that we can come to your home and help you get back up and running. And warm!