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Troubleshoot Common Heat Pump Dilemmas in Winter

The Pacific Northwest has dry, warm summers and cool, wet winters therefore the homeowners in Portland and Eugene depend on heat pumps to maintain comfortable indoor temperature all around the year. It is hard to beat an appliance offering dual convenience that is to keep your home warm in winter and cool in summer.

Heat pump is an energy efficiency option for people living in this region. Heat is actually moved and not generated, so helps to keep utility bills lower. Just like all other household appliances, heat pump too needs care and maintenance. Energy consumption of properly maintained heat pump is 15% to 25% less than severely neglected ones.

Proper maintenance from heat pump service professionals help to avert major issues. In extreme cold, heat pump has to overwork, which can increase the possibility of things going wrong.

How to troubleshoot some common heat pump issues, during winter?

Sudden heat loss

Never panic during sudden heat loss because this may need thermostat adjustment.

  • Check thermostat if it is in the heat mode because someone may have turned it off and forgotten.
  • If you had thermostat replaced then it may not be compatible with the unit.

If it is not the thermostat then issue can be flow of electricity. The circuit breaker may have tripped. So, check circuit and if it is tripped then reset. After all these efforts, if the heat pump does not work then call professionals.

Insufficient heat

Heat pump is functioning but not giving sufficient warmth. This can be because of dirty filters that can reduce airflow around the system. Remember this poor airflow performance can increase the compressor load and possibly damage it. The wise thing to do is to check filters once every month, especially when usage is high.

Clean the outdoor coils, when they appear dirty but turn the power off. Remove vegetation surrounding the outdoor component. If bent straighten the fins and clean supply & return registers. Other possible causes of insufficient heat production can be faulty valves, poor refrigerant flow, and blocked air ducts.

Blows cold air

Heat pump is functioning but cold air flows from the vents. This means issues with air handler or thermostat. In this case, first set thermostat to emergency heat mode and see if hot air flows. Thermostat needs to be 5° above the room temperature. If warm air blows then issue is with the outdoor unit and if air is still cool then there is an issue in the air handler or thermostat.

Check outdoor unit to find if there is ice buildup on its coils. This indicates defective defroster timer or low refrigerant level.

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