Not Hot, Not Cold: What’s Wrong With My Heat Pump?

cooling_house_heating_houseWe favor heat pumps for home installations here in the Willamette Valley. A heat pump that’s received professional installation can ably handle the Oregon winters and is powerful as an air conditioner. It only takes a simple adjustment on a thermostat to change a heat pump from a heater to an air conditioner and back again.

We’ve written before about what might be wrong if you find your heat pump stuck in one mode or the other. But what about when the heat pump won’t do either job? You turn it to cooling mode for the summer heat, but only feel room temperature air from the vents. And if you test the heat pump on heating mode, the same thing happens. What’s going on, and what can be done about it?

Possible Reasons for a “No Cooling, No Heating” Heat Pump

The difficulty with figuring out what’s wrong with a heat pump that won’t condition air at all is that there are numerous possibilities—many of them the same as you’d encounter with a standard AC that only sends out cooled air. Let’s look at a few causes:

  • Clogged air filter: Check to see if the air filter for the HVAC system is clogged up. If it is, it might be choking off the air into the heat pump so that it isn’t being heated or cooled. Change the filter to see if a clean one fixes the problem.
  • Broken thermostat: This is a basic one, but hard to diagnose for a non-professional. The thermostat isn’t sending the signal to the heat pump’s compressor to come on, a necessary step for heating and cooling mode. Even if the thermostat still turns the fan on, that doesn’t mean it’s working—a thermostat uses separates wires to operate the compressor.
  • Iced over coil: The indoor coil of a heat pump may ice over for a number of reasons (refrigerant leak, too much dust on the coil). With ice along it, the coil can neither absorb nor release heat.
  • Blocked outdoor cabinet: Check to see if air can pass through the outdoor cabinet. Obstructions blocking it will prohibit the heat pump from either releasing heat outside or absorbing it.
  • Refrigerant leaks: Small holes along the copper refrigerant lines can allow the vital chemical to escape from the system. If the refrigerant charge drops too far, the heat pump won’t work. This will eventually cause the compressor to burn out.
  • Broken compressor: This is the most serious malfunction. The compressor is the literal heart of the heat pump, responsible for circulating refrigerant. If the compressor fails, the heat pump won’t work (although the blower fan will still run). When the compressor fails, it’s usually time to have a new heat pump installed.

You can rely on us for service for your heat pump in Albany, OR. If your heat pump isn’t doing its job—either job—just call on us and we’ll be there to help.

Midway Mechanical has served the Willamette Valley for more than 40 years. Give us a call today and experience our company’s exceptional customer service!

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