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Do It Yourself - Most Popular

Heat Pump Troubleshooting and Repair - DIY Print E-mail
Written by Ray N.   

heat pump

It is that time of year where the furnace will be running.  It is also that time of year when your furnace should be running, but isn’t.  Before calling a furnace repair technician, consider these heat pump troubleshooting and repair tips.  You can save yourself time and money by trying these tips first. Be sure to check out our article on Geothermal Heat Pumps.

Heat Pump Troubleshooting Step:  Lack of Heat

If the heat does not turn on even when the temperature is set above the room temperature, the first thing you will look at is if the problem is caused by a thermostat malfunction or a tripped circuit breaker (blown fuse).   

  1. Make sure thermostat is actually set to on “heat”.  
  2. Make sure the circuit breaker to the heat pump is on and make sure a fuse has not been blown.  You will want to check the main electrical panel and the secondary sub-panels.   Reset circuit breaker or replace fuse if needed.  If the circuit blows again, there is likely a short in the electrical system.  At this point, contact an electrical contractor.
  3. Make sure power switch is turned on.  This is generally located next to or inside the air handler cabinet.  If it is not on, turn it on.  Wait just a few minutes for the air handler to engage.
  4. If there was an overload, the motor may need to be reset.  There should be a reset button by the housing of the motor.  Press the button.  If nothing happens right away, you should wait 30 minutes to allow the motor to cool down and then try this again.
  5. A fuse may need to be replaced within the power switch.  To check this, TURN OFF THE POWER TO THE HEAT PUMP AT THE MAIN SOURCE.  Replace this fuse by following owner’s manual.  
  6. The ignition to your heat pump may need checked.  Do this according to your heat pump owner’s manual.
  7. Check to make sure the thermostat is not faulty.  
  8. Call a heat pump repair technician if you cannot get heat.

Heat Pump Troubleshooting Step:  Getting Some Heat, But Not Enough Heat

There are times when your pump can provide heat, but there is not enough force.  In this case, something could be blocking the air.

  1. Make sure the thermostat is set above room temperature.
  2. Make sure registers are open.
  3. Check heat pump filter.  If dirty, replace.
  4. Contact a heat repair technician if the above heat pump troubleshooting steps do not work.  There could be something more serious wrong, such as the blower is not working correctly or the system can be out of balance.

Heat Pump Troubleshooting Step:  Circuit Breaker is Tripped by Heat Pump

This is a simple fix.  The elements in your heat pump could be drawing in too much power when it automatically turns on at a low temperature.  Locate the circuit breaker that serves the heat pump and reset it.

Heat Pump Troubleshooting Step:  Heat Pump Cycles too Often

It is possible the unit is overheating because of a clogged filter or a blower could be malfunctioning.  Clean the filter or replace it.  Call a heat pump technician if this does fix this problem.

Heat Pump Troubleshooting Step:  Blower Runs Constantly

When the blower runs constantly, this could be caused because the thermostat is mounted on the wall or the limit switch that is located on the heat pump is just below the plenum.  This is the box that distributes heated air to the ducts.  This switch is to shut off the heat pump if the air in the plenum is too hot.

  1. Check thermostat to see if fan switch is on.  If it is on, turn it off or on to “auto”.  If it is already set to off or auto, the pump’s limit switch needs to be adjusted.  
  2. Follow instructions in your heat pump owner’s manual to adjust the pump’s limit switch.  You will be resetting the pointers on the fan side of the limit control.  Set the lower pointer to approximately 90 degrees Fahrenheit and the upper one should be set at 115 degrees Fahrenheit.

Heat Pumps Troubleshooting Step:  Rattling in Heat Pump

Make sure cover panels are screwed on tightly.

Heat Pumps Troubleshooting Step:  Squealing Air Handler

This generally happens when the belt slips that connects the motor to the fan. 

  1. Remove access panel.
  2. Loosen bolts that hold blower motor.  
  3. Realign or adjust the belt.  You may wish to replace the belt at this time.  
  4. When replacing, be sure to not over-tighten because this can cause the motor bearings to wear out sooner.
  5. If blower is grinding, shut off the heat pump and call a heat pump repair technician.  The motor’s bearings are likely not any good anymore.

If your furnace is not working properly, try these simple heat pump troubleshooting steps before you call an expensive heat pump repair technician.

Comments (27)
  • Tom  - Condensate drain
    2 Ton Single Packaged Heat Pump. Drain not pluged on left side of unit. Water collects under conderser fan, right side of unit and drains out bottom of pan all over the pad. Not installed properly?? Please advise!
    Thanks Tom
  • bobby  - heat pump not shutting off
    Im having trouble with my heat pump. If I set it to 70 degrees it will heat up to 70 then start blowing out cool air and not shut off. I dont know if its in my thermostat or not if i set the temp to 72 and when it reaches 72 then turn it back to 70 it will shut off. What else should i check before calling a repair person?
    Thanks
  • Renee  - heat pump not shutting off
    I to am having the same problem where my heat will not shut off once it reaches the temp that I have it set on. I live in an apartment and they seem to not be able to find out what is wrong with it. Any suggestions. Thanks.
  • David  - Heat Pumps
    I read the troubleshooting suggestions , but my heat pump trips the breaker and it will reset and run for a few minutes and then trip again. It started out doing this only on cold nights. It does it all the time now. Voltage is correct with it off and jumps to around 350 or so when it kicks on. I set it to 58 degrees last night and it didnt trip and came on like it should. Any suggestions?
  • trina  - heat pump
    I am having the same problem. Did you find out what it is.
  • justin  - heat pump
    I have a rent house that is about 5years old.
    The heat quit working, I hit the schrader valve and there was no pressure. I called a guy to come service and he found a leak. he didnt have a torch, so he came back a week later and repaired the leak, put freon in the system. the unit will kick on but the low side drops to zero. is there anything simple to check before I call someone else. the thermostat acts faulty but does it have anything to do with the reversing valve.
  • Kelly Ayers  - Air
    My heat pump seems to be running fine..and when its in the 70's the air feels just fine..But as soon as it gets really warm outside in the high 80's..it just doesnt seem to blow cool air..and the temp in my house will be 80degrees even tho its set to 70..Is there something I can check myself without having to call someone
  • Darryl
    When I turn on the heat to my heat pump the little fuse will blow. Can anyone help me.
  • Doug  - re:
    did you ever figure this out, I have the same issue
  • doug
    Hey Darryl,

    Found this possible answer on another site, "Turned out to be one of the wires going to the reversing valve at the compressor. It had laid up against the copper tubing and melted so that when the unit went into "defrost mode" (it's been relatively cold in Charleston so it reversed frequently) it would short out and pop the fuse. Explains why it would run for an hour or so before failing".
  • Ron  - Heating furnace.
    heating furnace. Fun turn on but turn off right away? What causing this problem.
  • Dan
    Can anyone help me with this problem.
    I installed a heat strip in my heat pump and it does not work.
    I was told that my therostat needed to be changed,, so last nite I installed a honeywell focuspro 6000 th6220D1002.
    I have 6 wires coming into the thermostat.
    Red, blue, green, yellow, white & a single red.
    Could someone tell me what terminals they should be connected to ??
    Do I need to run a separate wire from the heat strip to the thermostat ?
    Thanx,,, Dan
  • Anonymous
    high viberation on suction line during defrost?
    how do i fix this?
  • charlie
    i am anonymous with viberation problem
  • steve barnes  - heatpump will not shut off when temp is satisfied
    heatpump will not shut off when temp is satisfied.
  • Document binders
    Outdoor heat pump units can be clogged with leaves or even pests such as squirrel nests. Before starting the system after a lengthy hibernation, make sure you remove the cover and clean out any debris.
  • shelly  - blower wont shut off even when unit is off
    a tech came and looked at our unit and blew the motor in it when he replaced it, it runs all the time even when the unit is shut off so i had to turn the breakers off what can cause this help please freezing to death
  • PAT WALTERS
    HI, I'M HAVING THE SAME TROUBLE AS A FEW OTHER FOLKS WITH MY HEAT PUMP. IT JUST RUNS AND RUNS. JUST GOT A RIDICULOUS ELECTRIC BILL. IT SEEMS EVER SINCE WE CHANGED THERMOSTATS FROM STANDARD TO DIGITAL, THE HEATING SIDE OD IT HAS NOT WORKED RIGHT. COULD JUST BE COINCIDENTAL. WE HAD TECHNICIANS THERE TWICE. THEY SAY NOTHING WRONG. IT SHOULD NOT RUN NONSTOP. SHOULD BE CYCLING OFF AND ON. IF ANYONE HAS ANY SUGGESTIONS, THEY WOULD BE GREATLY APPRECIATED. THANK YOU, PAT
  • Anonymous  - re: you need to program your thermostat to work wi
    Dan wrote:
    Can anyone help me with this problem.
    I installed a heat strip in my heat pump and it does not work.
    I was told that my therostat needed to be changed,, so last nite I installed a honeywell focuspro 6000 th6220D1002.
    I have 6 wires coming into the thermostat.
    Red, blue, green, yellow, white & a single red.
    Could someone tell me what terminals they should be connected to ??
    Do I need to run a separate wire from the heat strip to the thermostat ?
    Thanx,,, Dan
    Dan wrote:
    Can anyone help me with this problem.
    I installed a heat strip in my heat pump and it does not work.
    I was told that my therostat needed to be changed,, so last nite I installed a honeywell focuspro 6000 th6220D1002.
    I have 6 wires coming into the thermostat.
    Red, blue, green, yellow, white & a single red.
    Could someone tell me what terminals they should be connected to ??
    Do I need to run a separate wire from the heat strip to the thermostat ?
    Thanx,,, Dan
  • Mike  - heat pump problems
    I was having a problem with my Lennox heat pump. My circuit board in the nat. gas furnace displays a code that the unit is operathin under 90 volts. The Smart kit DFK-2 has a red led light that is on steady. When I try to run my A/C the nat. gas furnace runs but no A/C. any ideas?
  • ken  - breaker trips
    heatpump? everytime it comes on it trips breaker, 1 1/2 ton and 12yr old, any idea, thanks
  • chuck meyer  - heat pump problem
    heat pump and blower shut off ok but pump continues to hum untel it restarts
  • Don c.
    Heat pump runs ok as does inside backup heat. Problem happens during warmer days in winter around 40-50 degrees. Pump shuts off but indoor blower continues to run . The tech changed fan/ limit but to no avail. Any ideas out there?
  • kenny  - blower motor not blowing at 100%
    my heat pump (a/c) side does not blown. it acts like I wants to work but at best it is operating at 5%. I don't know if it is the fan or the capacitor. anyway to confirm
  • Bob  - Heat Pump- No Air out of Vents
    This is a Trane XE1200. The circuit breakers did not trip. When the thermostat is moved up a few degrees above current temperature, the outside unit turns on but there is no air flow. Even when I try to turn the fan on manually, there is no air flow. What is the likely problem?
  • Anonymous
    The compressor runs when outside temp is around 32...does not turn off and completely frosts the entire unit.
  • NICOLE WRIGHT  - PLEASE HELP ITS HOT
    we woke up today with no ac at all looked at the breaker box by the heat pump and its full of bees nests, could that cause it not to work? :ooo:
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