A good number of American homes use heat pumps as part of their heating and air conditioning systems. After all, they’re a strong, durable, energy-efficient heating option as long as they’re utilized correctly. As the winter season is now here, the demand for heating solutions is at an all-time high. As such, homeowners are calling for inspections, maintenance and repairs to help prepare themselves for the inevitable cold weather.
A home’s heat pump is a rather unique system that brings about a lot of benefits. However, as unique as they are, they can encounter their fair share of problems as well. This could be problematic, especially when you need it the most during the winter months. One possible problem is when your heat pump blows cold air despite being set to heating mode.
In this post, your air conditioning repair and installation expert, All Weather Heating & Air Conditioning, shares why your heat pump blows cold air in heating mode and how you can solve this problem.
Your heat pump might be in defrost mode
To those who aren’t that familiar with heat pumps, there are certain kinds that act as reverse air conditioners. These systems create heat by taking in cold air, converting it to heat and distributing it evenly around your living space. This makes it possible for some heat pump models to redirect heated air when in defrost mode.
This HVAC feature is especially helpful when you have difficulty getting to your outdoor unit to access it or inspect it. The defrost mode helps melt down ice buildup on your outdoor unit, making it easier for you to access your outdoor unit. Doing this while it’s frozen can damage your unit. If you find out that it’s in defrost mode, switch it back to heating mode since it won’t release hot air until the defrost cycle is finished.
You have a frozen heat pump
As odd as it may seem, your heat pump can develop frost or ice on the outdoor coils even during normal operation. This can also happen if your heat pump system is overworked. You’ll notice that ice will start to freeze up and generate cold air from your unit. However, if ice build-up is detected, your heat pump temporarily shifts into cooling mode to reverse the refrigerant’s flow within the coils. During cooling mode, the hot refrigerant moves through the exterior coils to melt the ice buildup and defrost the system.
If you notice that your heat pump is freezing up, this isn’t a problem you should try to fix on your own. Rather, it should be left in the hands of a certified heating and air conditioning repair technician due to the intricacies of the unit. After all, you don’t want to cause even more damage to your unit than may have already occurred. Also, you shouldn’t wait on scheduling HVAC repairs, since not addressing these issues can lead to your unit suffering irreversible damage. in addition, it can make your home’s temperature uncomfortable since the heating unit isn’t operational.
Here are a few reasons as to why your heat pump may be frozen:
- Low refrigerant levels
- Faulty defrost controls
- Malfunctioning defrost thermostats or sensors
- Defective defrost relay
- Sticking reversing valve
- Damaged or faulty outdoor fan motors
If you discover that your heat pump is covered in frost or ice, turn off the system and call your local HVAC professional for help. Here are a few troubleshooting tips you can follow while waiting for them:
- Check your HVAC unit’s air filter to ensure it’s not clogged or damaged. Replace dirty filters as necessary.
- Inspect your indoor air vents and registers and make sure that nothing is obstructing the unit, such as tall furniture, boxes, appliances or clothing.
- Remove accumulations of leaves, grass, snow, dirt and other debris that can obstruct your HVAC unit’s airflow or outdoor coil.
- Ensure that your gutters aren’t overflowing so that they don’t drip onto your outside unit.
Your heat pump might be blowing slightly cool air
Some homeowners might be thinking of the differences between a heat pump and a furnace. The main thing that sets them apart is that furnaces blow out burning hot air. This means that if you tried to get near the furnace itself, it would be dangerous, as it’s extremely hot. Heat pumps, on the other hand, blow out adequately warm air that’s around 85 to 90 degrees.
While this isn’t hot, it’s definitely warm considering most thermostat settings are set at 68 degrees. You might be thinking that your heat pump is blowing cold air due to your body’s temperature, which makes it seem like it’s actually cold air. You can test your heat pump’s air temperature by checking your thermostat every 30 minutes after you turn it on. It should indicate that the indoor temperature will be around 85 to 90 degrees within an hour or so.
Something Is critically wrong
If you’ve followed the basic troubleshooting steps that are listed on your heat pump’s user guide and it still continues to malfunction, you’ll need to call on your local HVAC technician to have your heat pump inspected. Keep in mind that some components might need to be replaced, so you’ll need to have some lead time to prepare for a period with less heating. Once everything is settled, make sure that you continue to have your HVAC unit inspected and maintained regularly so that you can get the most out of it.
For your heating and air conditioning needs, turn to All Weather Heating & Air Conditioning. In addition to installing central air conditioning by industry leader Bryant®, our company has the training and equipment to address your emergency heating and cooling concerns. Call us at (707) 400-6875 or fill out our contact form to request a service call. We serve homeowners in Vacaville, CA, and the surrounding communities.