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5 Common Wintertime Heat Pump Problems

Man Next to Thermostat

5 Common Wintertime Heat Pump Problems 

Winter is one of the two seasons of the year in Denver, CO when your heat pump is super busy. During this period, your system may develop problems as it works hard to keep you warm. Below, we will discuss common wintertime heat pump problems.

1. Failure To Warm Your Home

Sometimes, your heat pump may fail to supply the warmth your family needs during winter. Some issues that contribute to this scenario include a faulty reversing valve, a dirty outdoor component, refrigerant leaks, or ductwork leaks.

A faulty reversing valve allows the refrigerant to continue moving heat from your home to the outdoor environment during winter instead of the other way around. Since no heat comes in, your house remains cold.

A dirty outdoor component cannot absorb heat efficiently. Also, when the refrigerant leaks, your system cannot move enough heat into your home. Ductwork leaks allow the heated air to escape; hence, very little warm air gets to your rooms.

2. A Frozen Outdoor Coil

It’s important to keep checking the outdoor unit to see whether ice has accumulated on it. If this component remains frozen for a long time, the layer of ice creates a barrier that makes it difficult for the outdoor coil to absorb heat from the outside air.

Typically, your heat pump has a way of melting this layer of ice. It runs a defrost cycle that helps to eliminate the ice. To defrost itself, the heat pump transfers heat from the indoor air during winter to the outdoor coil.

Issues, such as refrigerant leaks and a dirty outdoor coil, can make it difficult for the heat pump to defrost itself. Call a technician to inspect and repair your system when you notice the ice layer not going away.

3. Failure To Shut Down

Heat pumps should heat or cool your house in cycles. Each hour, the systems have two to three cycles. The only time your heat pump should run constantly is if the system is a variable-stage unit or the outdoor temperatures are too low.

Variable-stage heat pumps run nearly constantly because their objective is to maintain comfortable temperatures and prevent indoor temperatures from going below a certain range. If the outdoor temperatures are too low, your system may struggle to move in enough heat in a short time, prompting it to run continuously.

Some of the reasons your system may fail to take breaks include a clogged air filter, refrigerant leaks, dirty components, or an undersized heat pump. Running constantly makes your system consume more energy and makes it more likely that your heat pump will break down. As a result, you will experience frequent downtimes, increased repair costs, and inflated energy bills.

4. Short Cycling

A short cycling heat pump turns on and off more times than usual. The system shuts down prematurely, turns on since it fails to distribute temperatures evenly, turns off, and repeats this pattern.

Short cycling is detrimental to your system’s components because they undergo increased strain. Also, a system that short cycles causes hot and cold spots in your house because it doesn’t take enough time to spread the heated or cooled air to all rooms in your home.

Your system can short cycle due to airflow problems and refrigerant leaks. Also, if you have an oversized system, it will struggle to run in cycles. Although repairs can fix the other causes of short cycling, you will need to replace an oversized system, as repairs cannot eliminate the issue.

5. Strange Smells and Noises

Some unpleasant odors that you should sniff around for in your system include musty, rotten egg, burning and gunpowder smells. Some weird noises you may hear from your heat pump include banging, buzzing, hissing, gurgling, and rattling. These unusual smells and noises are signs of malfunctioning components.

If your heat pump operates in a way you are not used to, don’t ignore it. Contact Apple Aire Heating & Cooling immediately for professional heat pump services. Our technicians have decades of experience solving multiple HVAC issues and can address any HVAC problem.

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