8 Signs That Your Heat Pump Needs Immediate Service

Updated on April 27, 2019
Heat pumps use a lot of energy, so the bill is often quite high . . . but it shouldn't be TOO high.
Heat pumps use a lot of energy, so the bill is often quite high . . . but it shouldn't be TOO high.

Scheduling heat pump maintenance at least once a year is ideal. Our heating unit needs maintenance to keep running smoothly and last for a much longer time as well. There are times, however, when you can’t help but notice or feel something off about your system. It is showing signs that it needs immediate service. Listed below are some of the signs your heat pump must be checked out by an AC professional.

1. High Energy Bills

Our heat pump is just one of the many appliances we use at home. Heat pumps, however, consume a lot of electricity, often making up a significant percentage of the energy bills. Then again, there is a high energy bill, and there’s the insanely crazy energy bill. If you get something like the latter, better take a closer look at your heat pump, because there could be something wrong with it that requires immediate attention from an experienced HVAC company. Some of the possible heat pump errors that are increasing your energy bills include:

  • Faulty installation
  • Dirty air filters
  • Dirty coil
  • Low refrigerant charge
  • Refrigerant overcharge
  • Holes in the duct

2. Weird Smells

Strange smells coming from your heat pump is one unmistakable sign that it needs immediate attention.

If the smell is that of something burning, then it must be something actually burning inside it. It could be an electrical problem or a component that is overheating.

The moment you detect a burning smell coming from the unit, call an HVAC professional straight away to minimize the damage to your system. Don’t wait for it to become a fire hazard that will threaten your home.

3. Strange Sounds

HVAC systems are naturally noisier than most household equipment, but if the sounds coming out of them are louder and weirder than usual, it’s probably time to have a professional check it out.

More often than not, the unusual sounds are produced by a loose fan belt, a central air fan motor that needs more lubrication, or a compressor that is operating at an extraordinarily high level of pressure. If you hear bubbling sounds, it may be a slow refrigerant leak.

Whatever is causing those strange sounds, it is posing a hazard. You have to shut down your unit straight away and call HVAC professionals as soon as possible.

4. Weak Airflow

The air coming out of your unit may still be warm, but if you can barely feel the air flowing, there might be something wrong with it. It could be your ductwork and not the unit itself.

Whatever the case, weak airflow should be addressed immediately. If the airflow isn’t strong, heating your entire home would prove difficult. Heat pumps with weak airflow will have to work harder to heat your home. That, of course, automatically results in higher energy bills.

5. Your AC Unit Is Leaking Water

Does water pool next to your heat pump? Then there is excess moisture or worse, a leak somewhere in your unit.

When there is moisture or water in places where it shouldn’t be, it could mean that your heat pump has a broken or blocked drain tube which is supposed to remove the condensation it produces. A worse scenario is a refrigerant leak, which is a very serious problem. Call your HVAC company the moment you see wet spots, drips or leaks around your heat pump to prevent your unit from sustaining damage.

6. It Doesn’t Heat Your Home Anymore

You’ve got your heat pump running full blast, and it’s generating a nice, steady airflow. One hour later, you’re still freezing, because your heat pump is no longer doing its job. Some of the reasons a heat pump is not keeping you warm include filthy air filters, a problem with the fan or fan motor, and thermostat issues.

The situation could be worse if the lack or absence of warm air is due to problems with the electronic control board or PCB assembly, a failing capacitor or a defective thermistor, a component found on electronic control models. The thermistor keeps an eye on the incoming air temperature and tells the main control board when to turn the compressor on or off.

7. Electric Control Failure

It is but natural for electrical connections in your heat pump system to wear out over time. They could corrode and fail after years of operation. So if you notice a delay or complete failure when switching your heat pump on or off, it’s possible the wires are no longer in a healthy state and may even be damaged already, which poses the risk of an electrical fire that could endanger your home.

8. Ice Buildup

You know there’s a problem with your heat pump when you see ice forming on it. There are usually two reasons why this happens.

Your heating unit could be suffocating because of insufficient airflow, which, in turn, may be caused by very dirty air filters, too few return ducts, damaged ductwork or dirty evaporator coils. With improper airflow, the coils drop below freezing, and collect all the humidity in the air, causing a buildup of ice on your heat pump.

An even worse reason for ice buildup on your heat pump is a problem with your refrigerant. Refrigerant might be leaking, which lessens your heat pump system’s efficiency and causes the coils containing the refrigerant to become too cold and build up ice.

The fact that leaking refrigerant also causes harm to the environment should make you more vigilant about having HVAC professionals perform regular maintenance on your heat pump.

Don’t Ignore These Signs

The only way to keep your heat pump running optimally and efficiently is to have it serviced on a regular basis. And if you notice any of the signs mentioned above, don’t ignore them. If you do nothing about the problems your heating system is manifesting, you are not just condemning your heat pump unit to its doom. You are also endangering your life and that of your family, especially when most of these problems could lead to a fire or worse.

Have your heat pump serviced by qualified professionals, and extend its life, save money on energy bills, and keep your family safe and warm.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

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