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).
- Make sure thermostat is actually set to on “heat”.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- The ignition to your heat pump may need checked. Do this according to your heat pump owner’s manual.
- Check to make sure the thermostat is not faulty.
- 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.
- Make sure the thermostat is set above room temperature.
- Make sure registers are open.
- Check heat pump filter. If dirty, replace.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Remove access panel.
- Loosen bolts that hold blower motor.
- Realign or adjust the belt. You may wish to replace the belt at this time.
- When replacing, be sure to not over-tighten because this can cause the motor bearings to wear out sooner.
- 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.