If you have a heat pump system, it likely spends the majority of its time in “cooling mode.” That’s understandable, but it’s important that you remember what this much demand on a mechanical system means. Summertime is the most stressful time of year for your heat pump, which means even more here, where it’s pretty much always hot.
Now is the most likely time for problems to occur, but if you are able to identify any heat pump problems before they grow worse, you can potentially avoid a sudden breakdown. Keep reading for some of the signs that your heat pump needs repair:
A Drop in Cooling Power or Airflow
It’s never a good thing when your home comfort system loses any output capacity. If your heat pump seems it isn’t blowing as much cold air as you believe it should be, there could be a couple different things going on.
It is possible that you have a refrigerant leak in your system. There’s a common misconception among homeowners that refrigerant is something that runs out of the system like gasoline does from a car. However, ideally your heat pump should be able to operate on the initial fill (called a charge) of refrigerant throughout its entire lifespan.
Another possible reason for low output is that the air filter is clogged. This could very well cut off a large portion of the air flowing into your system. The good news is, this is something you can check for on your own. You can and should be changing your heat pump’s air filter every 1–3 months.
One of the biggest signs that a heat pump is having problems is the presence of odd noises during its operation. These sounds can mean many different things, depending on the type. Grinding, for instance, usually means that your air handler is under more stress than it should be.
Hissing or gurgling could mean you have air bubbles in the refrigerant line, which means you have a leak. We mentioned above that this is a problem … but the reason it’s a problem is that without enough refrigerant, your air conditioner literally cannot do its job.
We understand the desire to investigate noises on your own, but we encourage you to give a pro a call if you hear sounds you’ve never heard before coming from your heat pump.
You may have heard of short-cycling before in the context of a central air conditioner or furnace. Well, it can happen in a heat pump, too. Short-cycling is when the system shuts itself off and turns back on in rapid succession. There are various potential causes for this. One possibility is that the system is too large for your home. If this is the case, however, you’ll notice this symptom right away after installation.
Short-cycling creates added wear and tear to your system and can keep it from lasting throughout its entire lifespan as it’s meant to. Therefore, if you notice or suspect short-cycling, the best thing you can do is call in our pros!