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3 Common Heat Pump Problems in Minneapolis Explained

If you’re having issues with your heat pump, we know you’re anxious to get your unit back to healthy operation. But before calling a professional, there are a few troubleshooting steps you can take that might save you some time and money.

Below we’ve listed below 3 of the most common heat pump problems, the causes and what you can do to fix them.

Have a heat pump problem that needs professional help immediately? Just contact us and we’ll send over a tech to help.

Problem #1: Heat pump is blowing cold air

Whenever we get this complaint from homeowners, the problem always falls into one of the following 3 explanations:

  1. The heat pump is in defrost mode (see explanation below).
  2. The heat pump isn’t actually blowing “cold air” and is working properly (see explanation below).
  3. There’s a problem with the unit that requires professional help.

Unfortunately, during the winter, we get lots of calls from homeowners with the first two issues. Which means, there really was no problem and they paid for an unnecessary service call. Let us explain.

About defrost mode

In the winter, a heat pump frequently goes through “defrost mode”. In defrost mode, the unit temporarily works in reverse to provide cooling. This is normal and allows the outdoor unit to heat up and melt any ice or snow that’s accumulated on the coils. But, of course, defrost mode causes the heat pump to blow cold air for a few minutes, which can confuse homeowners into thinking they need a repair when they don’t.

How your body can trick you

In colder weather, a heat pump might deliver warm air around 85-95 degrees, which is plenty warm to heat your home. But, compared to our body temperature of 98 degrees, that air might feel cold and lead homeowners to make a repair call even though their heat pump is working properly.

What to do:

To save yourself some time and money, make sure that there’s actually a problem. There’s not a problem if you see these signs:

Signs that your heat pump is in defrost mode include:

  • Outdoor fan stops working for several minutes.
  • There’s visible steam rising from the outdoor unit.
  • The cold air coming from the air vents only lasts for several minutes and repeats every 30, 60 or 90 minutes.

Your body might be tricking you if:

  • It’s a particularly cold day/night
  • Your heat pump reaches and maintains your desired temperature

If the above signs don’t describe your cold air problem, have a professional inspect the unit and determine the problem.

Want in-depth information on this heat pump problem? Just check out our article, Why Is My Heat Pump Blowing Cold Air?

Problem #2: Heat pump is running constantly

This may or may not be an issue.

If the heat pump is running constantly but is meeting your cooling and heating needs, then it’s not a problem. Heat pumps are designed to run constantly with minimal cycles. This is especially true during very hot and cold days.

However, if your heat pump runs constantly and you’re still not comfortable, there an issue.

What to do:

A few troubleshooting steps you can take before calling a professional include:

  1. Check for a dirty air filter and change it if needed.
  2. Check that your fan is set to AUTO not ON.
  3. Check for set temperatures that are unrealistically high or low (for example, 85 degrees in the winter or below 65 in the summer).
  4. Make sure your outdoor unit isn’t suffocated (by foliage, snow, etc.)

If you’ve checked for the above, it’s time to call in a professional to diagnose your heat pump problem.

Problem #3: Heat pump won’t turn on

In almost all cases, a heat pump that won’t turn on is the result of electrical failure.

What to do:

Do the following before calling a professional:

  1. Make sure the thermostat is set to HEAT not COOL.
  2. Check the power switch to the heat pump. Some heat pumps are connected to a power switch that looks like a regular light switch and is usually located on a nearby wall. Because it looks like a light switch, it may have been turned off by accident.
  3. Check and reset the circuit breaker. Even if the circuit breaker protecting the heat pump doesn’t look like it tripped, reset it by flipping it to the OFF position then back to the ON position and try to start your heat pump. Note: If the circuit breaker immediately trips, call a professional immediately.

If your heat pump still won’t turn on after these steps, have a professional inspect your unit to determine the issue.

Have other heat pump questions? Ask a MN tech

If you’re still have trouble with your heat pump, we can help.

Just contact us with your questions and we’ll respond right away with the help you need.