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Why Is My Heat Pump Blowing Cold Air?

Heat pump malfunctions always seem to happen during the middle of winter, just when you need your heating system to be working its best. The last situation you want to encounter is a heat pump that’s blowing cold air instead of warm air.

There are a few possible reasons your heat pump might be blowing cold air:

Repair Your Heat Pump ASAP With MSP

No matter the issue with your heat pump, MSP Plumbing Heating Air provides quick, friendly repair service to help keep your home warm and comfortable. Call us at (651) 228-9200 or use our convenient online portal to schedule service. We provide same-day heat pump repairs no matter your make and model.

Your Heat Pump Is in Defrost Mode

Small ground unit that's covered in frost.

Heat pumps operate by drawing in heat from the air outside to heat your home. When outdoor temperatures drop, your heat pump’s outdoor coils may be vulnerable to becoming frosted over and even freezing up. And if your heat pump is frosted over, it can go into defrost mode. When this occurs, the heat pump actually directs heat to your outdoor unit to melt the frost and get your system running properly.

Usually, it doesn’t take long for your heat pump to defrost the outdoor unit, so this should only last for a few minutes.

If you notice cold air coming from your vents only for a few minutes, your heat pump is probably working on defrosting your outdoor unit. You can see if your unit is in defrost mode by checking to see if the fan in your outdoor unit has stopped circulating or if your outdoor unit is covered in frost.

There’s an Issue with Your Heat Pump

Another possible cause of cold air blowing is your heat pump failing to function as it should. The unit likely needs a professional heat pump repair if it blows cold air for longer than just a few minutes.

Leaky Refrigerant Line

refrig lines from AC unit

Signs of a leak in your heat pump’s refrigerant line include short cycles where your system is turning off and on more frequently than usual and an increase in household humidity. A refrigerant leak may also result in your unit’s outdoor coils freezing up. Still, unlike when your unit has gone into temporary defrost mode, the situation won’t correct itself within a few minutes. Your heat pump will also have to work much harder, which will cause an increase in utility costs.

A leaky refrigerant line must always be dealt with by a trained professional. In fact, EPA regulations require this because refrigerant is highly dangerous and should not be handled by those without specialized training. At MSP Plumbing Heating Air, we provide our technicians with the training they need to do their job safely and efficiently.

Faulty Reversing Valve

Reversing valve issues often present as an inability of your heating unit to seamlessly toggle between heating and cooling modes and constantly run in cooling mode. You may also notice that the output seems less powerful than before, and you’ll probably also experience a rise in utility bills.

Because the reversing valve is an essential component of your heat pump, you should have a professional check it out as soon as possible.

Clogged or Blocked Outdoor Unit

Overtop view of a ground AC unit showing its fan.

Heat pump systems depend on unobstructed airflow to properly do their jobs, and this can’t happen if the outdoor unit has somehow become clogged or blocked. Because outdoor units are typically located in out-of-the-way areas, they sometimes get overlooked when it comes to basic weeding and other landscaping tasks — which means that weeds and other debris can block or clog the unit without anyone noticing.

Fortunately, there’s an easy fix: remove the obstructions and see if your system starts working normally. In the future, make it part of your outdoor maintenance routine to check this area and pull weeds or resolve other problems before they can cause issues.

Old Age is Causing Poor Performance

Like everything else, heat pumps have life spans. The typical heat pump should last approximately 15 years, but this can vary depending on the make, model, and how well it’s been maintained. If your heat pump is nearing the end of its natural life, give MSP Heating Plumbing Air a call to discuss installing a heat pump replacement.

After your new heat pump is installed, talk with your technician about establishing a maintenance schedule for your heating unit. A regular furnace tune-up will help circumvent problems with heat pumps and other components and help ensure they last longer.

It’s Below Freezing, and You Need a Backup Heat Source

Most modern, well-maintained heat pumps will still perform efficiently when outdoor temperatures plunge into the 20s. But lower temperatures in the Twin Cities are far from unheard of, and homeowners may experience a performance loss under these circumstances. Midwest winters are nothing to fool around with, and a backup heat source is recommended for optimal comfort and safety.

Get a 5-Star Heat Pump Repair from MSP!

MSP Technicians

Call MSP Heating Plumbing Air at (651) 228-9200 to learn more about how to keep your home warm and toasty even during the coldest Twin Cities winter. You can also schedule a heat pump repair service through our convenient online form. With over 100 years of service in the area and over a thousand 5-star Google reviews, we’re certified Minnesota-tough and committed to the kind of outstanding service we’d want for our own families.