Residential Heat Pump Troubleshooting


A heating, ventilating and air-conditioning system uses a pump to move heat from the HVAC unit through the ducts of a house. The unit's compressor pumps high-pressure, heated refrigerant vapor through the reversing valve. The air flows out of the heat pump to the coils on the unit outside of the house. The vapor is then cooled, in the case of air-conditioning, or left warm for heating. A faulty heat pump will interrupt this process.

Things You'll Need

  • Screwdriver
  • Soft brush
  • Hose
  • Check the settings of the thermostat to ensure they're correct. The heat pump will not turn on if the room to be heated features a higher temperature than the thermostat settings.

  • Check the unit's power supply. Inspect the circuit breaker box to see if a fuse is thrown. Unscrew fuses to a breaker that's flipped. Inspect the middle of the fuse for a small break. Change any broken fuse.

  • Inspect the pipes coming from the HVAC unit, and the unit itself, for evidence of freezing. This is a sign of trapped refrigerant. Pull out the unit's filters. Replace filters that are dirty and clogged with debris. Find the model number of the air filter, on the side of the filter, and replace it with the same model.

  • Turn off the power and inspect the outside condenser unit. Open the unit by unhooking the panel or removing it with a screwdriver. Clear any leaves or rubbish from around the unit and from inside the casing, using a soft brush. Wash the condenser coils with a light stream of water from a hose.

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