Air Conditioning Service: Common Heat Pump Problems And Their Causes | Hinckley, IL

Air Conditioning Service: Common Heat Pump Problems And Their Causes | Hinckley, IL

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Becoming increasingly popular, heat pumps are an effective alternative to conventional heating especially due to their low energy usage. A heat pump malfunction can be incredibly frustrating and inconvenient. Heat pumps can either be electrical or mechanical, and they are among the most efficient home heating solutions. Rather than generate their heat, heat pumps absorb existing heat energy from the outside and transfer it to the interior. When it gets too toasty, they absorb the house’s interior’s extra heat and divert it outside.

With proper care, a heat pump can last an average of 15 years in Hinckley, IL. They are susceptible to various issues during their lifetime, however, and having basic troubleshooting skills will allow you to spot issues when they crop up and contact an air conditioning service like Just In Time Heating, AC, Plumbing, Carpentry & Remodeling.

The following are some common heat pump problems homeowners face and their causes:

Heat Pump Isn’t Running

Let’s start with one of the most common reasons homeowners seek air conditioning services, a heat pump that won’t turn on. Here are some reasons why your heat pump may not be turning on:

  • Faulty thermostat – The thermostats are responsible for ‘telling’ your heat pump the temperature it needs to maintain. The heat pump will then absorb extra heat from the outside and transfer it inside or transfer internal heat to the outside. If the thermostat cannot communicate what level of heat it needs to maintain with the heat pump, it will not turn on.


  • Loss of power – The heat pump may not be working due to power loss. Since the indoor and outdoor units of the heat pump have different power switches, a fault in either switch could cause the whole system to shut down. If both power switches are on, but the heat pump still isn’t running, you may have to call a professional service.


  • Faulty starter capacitor – This component delivers power to the heat pump’s motor. If your heat pump makes a faint clicking noise when you turn it on, the starter capacitor may be faulty. In this case, you should reach out to a professional service immediately, as changing a starter capacitor by yourself is extremely dangerous.


  • Faulty reversing valve – The reversing valve allows the heat pump to switch between heating and cooling mode. A faulty one may cause the heat pump to only turn on in one mode, requiring professional expertise to fix.

Heat Pump Running Constantly

On the other end of the spectrum, you may notice that your heat pump is always running and has increased your energy bills. Here are some reasons why this could be happening:

  • Incorrect thermostat settings – The heat pump will keep constantly running to maintain an optimum internal temperature if the temperature set on the thermostat is either too high or too low. If adjusting the thermostat settings to the right temperature does not fix the issue, your thermostat may be calibrated incorrectly. In this case, hiring a professional service in Hinckley, IL, would be the best choice.


  • Broken compressor contactor – This is a small device that regulates the flow of electricity in the heat pump. A faulty one may not regulate the electricity properly, causing the heat pump to run constantly. An air conditioning service will be better suited to determine whether a broken compressor contactor is the problem and if it should be replaced or not.


  • Refrigerant leak – Refrigerant liquid flows within the coils that transfer heat between indoor and outdoor air. If there is a leak, the heat transfer will not happen efficiently, forcing the heat pump to run constantly to maintain the temperature. Identifying and fixing a refrigerant leak will require the expertise of a professional service.

Frozen Outdoor Unit

Over the winter, snow can accumulate on top of the outdoor heat pump unit. If the layer of ice grows thick enough, it can hamper the transfer of heat from the outside air to the outside coil. Here are some reasons why the outdoor unit could freeze up:

  • Blockage – If enough ice collects on the ground around the outdoor heat pump, it can prevent it from absorbing enough ground heat to melt the ice on top of the unit. You can avoid this by regularly sweeping away the ice around the outside unit and using hose water to melt the ice steadily.


  • Defective outdoor fan – The fan ensures there is plenty of airflow over the outside heating coils and keeps the unit from freezing. Reach out to a professional air conditioning service to have a look at the outdoor fan motor


  • Refrigerant leak – If the outdoor coils spring a leak and lose enough refrigerant fluid, there will be poor heat transfer, and the unit will be unable to melt the layer of ice forming on top. Ensure you contact an air conditioning service if that’s the case, as repairing refrigerant leaks can be very dangerous.

The Air Handler on the Indoor Unit Isn’t Working

The indoor air handler’s job is to pull air into the heat pump, pass it over the coils, and distribute it throughout your home. If it isn’t working, you will not feel any air, cold or warm, coming from the registers. A malfunctioning indoor air handler can be caused by:

  • Bad wiring connection – Frayed or loose wires in the heat pump may be preventing electricity from reaching the air handler. Never try to repair or fix poor wiring. Instead, you should contact an air conditioning service for emergency repairs.


  • A blown blower motor – The blower motor circulates heated or cooled air around the house, and once it stops working, the heat pump will be unable to distribute air around the house. A blown blower motor can only be replaced by a professional air conditioning service.

The Heat Pump Isn’t Heating Your Home

You’re right in the middle of a blisteringly cold winter when your heat pump stops heating your home. What could be causing this malfunction?

  • Incorrect thermostat settings – Your heat pump will not heat your home if the thermostat is set to cool mode.
  • Poorly calibrated thermostat – In some cases, the thermostat could simply be reading the wrong temperature and feeding this to the heat pump. You can reach out to an air conditioning service to either recalibrate or replace the thermostat.
  • Refrigerant leak
  • Blocked outside unit

Air Conditioning Services in Hinckley, IL

Like plumbing and electrical wiring, heating is a crucial aspect that requires a professional touch. Taking matters into your own hands could be hazardous and cause further damage to your HVAC system. If your heat pump has been displaying one or more of the problems mentioned above, reach out to Just In Time Heating, AC, Plumbing, Carpentry & Remodeling. Our HVAC experts are knowledgeable and experienced at handling your HVAC unit. Contact us today for more information about our service.