Why Heat Pump Not Cooling


Why Heat Pump Not Cooling

Comprehensive Guide to Troubleshooting Heat Pump Issues


When the winter chill sets in and your heating system fails to achieve the desired room temperature, it’s imperative to start troubleshooting. An understanding of how a heat pump operates is beneficial, as the unit might be functioning correctly while you still feel uncomfortable. Often, the problem is rooted in thermostat settings, extremely cold outdoor temperatures, or a clogged air filter.

Heat Pump Not Cooling

A heat pump, which functions like an air conditioner during the summer, might sometimes fail to cool effectively. Several issues could be at play, such as thermostat settings, problems with the outdoor or indoor unit, dirty or clogged filters, or a dirty outdoor coil. Let’s explore these in detail:

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  1. Thermostat Settings: Ensure the thermostat is correctly set. If it’s on heat mode or the constant fan setting, it might be operating but only blowing warm air. Adjust the thermostat to the cool or auto setting. Lower the temperature by a few degrees and observe if the room temperature changes.

  2. Outdoor Unit Issues: Check for a tripped circuit breaker and visually inspect the outdoor unit to ensure it’s operational. If the circuit breaker frequently trips, it could indicate a malfunction, a broken component, or an electrical problem.

  3. Indoor Unit Issues: If the heat pump is running but emitting warm air, and the thermostat is set correctly, you might be low on refrigerant or have a faulty reversing valve. If there’s no airflow, check the power switch or circuit breaker.

  4. Dirty/Clogged Filter: A blocked filter or obstructions in the indoor blower can restrict airflow, resulting in weak or no air entering your home. Inspect and clean or replace the air filter if necessary.

  5. Dirty/Clogged Outdoor Coil: Debris like cottonwood or dirt can accumulate on the outdoor coil, impeding its ability to transfer heat effectively. Clean the outdoor coil during regular system maintenance.

These are just a few common, quick fixes for heat pumps that aren’t cooling. For more extensive issues or emergency repairs, it’s best to contact a professional HVAC dealer. Your comfort and energy bills will thank you for it.

When to Call an Expert for a Malfunctioning Heat Pump

Heat pumps can be complex, and while many issues can be quickly and easily resolved by the average homeowner, some repairs necessitate a qualified, professional HVAC technician to diagnose and address the problem. In such cases, contacting your local BCRC Heating HVAC dealer before a small issue escalates into a more significant repair is advisable.

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Common Heat Pump Problems and Solutions

As summer temperatures rise, Why Heat Pump Not Cooling your home is a problem you’ll want to remedy promptly to ensure comfort and safety. Various problems can cause your heat pump to malfunction, so here are some common scenarios:

  1. Heat Pump Not Turning On: If your heat pump fails to turn on, consider these potential causes:

    • Thermostat Issues: Verify that the thermostat is set to “cool” and the desired temperature is below the home’s current indoor temperature. Check for system error messages or alerts on smart thermostats.
    • Power Supply: Ensure the heat pump is receiving power. If the unit draws too much power, the circuit breaker might trip as a safety precaution. Check the electrical panel and reset the breaker if necessary. Persistent tripping indicates a larger issue, requiring a technician’s attention.
    • Start Capacitor Problems: Listen for a faint clicking noise when the heat pump attempts to start. This noise might indicate a broken start capacitor, which helps the motor start with less effort. Contact an HVAC technician for replacement.
    • Reversing Valve Malfunction: If the unit is only delivering warm or cool air, a technician might need to repair or replace the reversing valve, which allows the system to function as both a heater and air conditioner by reversing the refrigerant’s direction.
  2. Why Heat Pump Not Cooling: If your heat pump is running but not cooling effectively, it could be due to:

    • Thermostat Malfunction: Ensure the thermostat is set to “cool” with the desired temperature. If it’s not reading the indoor temperature correctly or there’s an electrical issue, a professional technician is needed.
    • Reversing Valve Issues: If the air from your vents is hot, the reversing valve might be malfunctioning.
    • Dirty Components: Limited airflow due to dirty or clogged components, or a clogged air filter, can cause the system to expel lukewarm air. Clean debris from the outdoor unit and replace the HVAC filter if necessary.
    • Low Refrigerant: Low refrigerant levels or a leak can hinder the heat pump’s cooling ability. Regular maintenance is crucial for identifying refrigerant issues or potential leaks.
  3. Heat Pump Running Constantly: A continuously running heat pump can spike your energy bill and shorten the unit’s lifespan. Common reasons include:

    • Extreme Thermostat Settings: Setting the thermostat too high or low can cause the unit to work continuously. Adjust the thermostat by a few degrees to give the unit a break and reduce energy consumption.
    • Dirty Air Filter: A clogged air filter can obstruct airflow, making the heat pump work harder. Replace the filter every 90 days, or more frequently if needed, to maintain efficiency.
    • Compressor Contactor Issues: The compressor contactor controls power to the compressor and outdoor fan. If damaged, the heat pump might run constantly. Professional repair or replacement is necessary.
  4. Heat Pump Not Heating: During winter, these issues might prevent your heat pump from blowing hot air:

    • Blocked Unit: The heat pump draws heat from the outside air, and obstructions like snow, ice, or debris can hinder its function. Clear any blockages to restore proper operation.
    • Clogged Air Filter: A dirty air filter can block airflow to the indoor coil, reducing heating efficiency. Regularly check and replace the filter if dirty.
    • Low Refrigerant: Low refrigerant levels, often due to a leak, can impair heating. A professional should check and recharge the refrigerant if necessary.
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 Troubleshooting Tips for Various Heat Pump Brands

Different brands might exhibit specific issues or have unique troubleshooting steps. Here’s a brief overview:

  1. Trane Heat Pumps:

    • Set the thermostat to 78 degrees in summer and 68 degrees in winter to optimize the unit’s cycles and prevent continuous operation.
    • A tripped circuit breaker or defective wiring might be the culprit behind a malfunctioning heat pump. A certified Trane dealer can inspect and rectify wiring issues.
    • Defrost timer or control module defects might cause ice build-up on the outdoor coil.
  2. Carrier Heat Pumps:

    • If the indoor coil is frozen, turn off the unit to let it thaw, which might take up to 24 hours. The likely cause is an airflow issue.
    • Blown blower motor, defective fan motor, or compressor issues could also cause heat pump failures.
  3. Goodman Heat Pumps:

    • Regular seasonal maintenance, ideally in spring and fall, can prevent common issues.
    • Ensuring the heat pump is appropriately sized for your home is crucial for efficient operation.
  4. Lennox Heat Pumps:

    • Start with basic facts like the age, repair costs, and current system efficiency to decide between repairing or replacing a broken heat pump.
  5. Mitsubishi Electric Heat Pumps:

    • Mitsubishi emphasizes regular maintenance to prevent performance issues and recommends cleaning or replacing air filters regularly.

Other notable brands to consider include Ruud, Rheem, Bryant, American Standard, Coleman, York, and Amana.

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Hiring a Reputable Heat Pump Technician

If DIY troubleshooting fails to resolve the issue, it’s time to call a professional HVAC technician. When hiring an HVAC company, consider the following:

  • Online Reviews: Look for HVAC contractors with positive reviews on platforms like Angi, Yelp, and Google Reviews.
  • Licenses and Certifications: Ensure the company has the necessary credentials and insurance.
  • Experience: Opt for a technician with experience in handling your specific heat pump brand.

Taking the time to find a trustworthy HVAC technician ensures your heating and cooling system is in capable hands, providing optimal comfort and energy efficiency.

Additional Troubleshooting Tips

  1. Why Heat Pump Not Cooling Your Home?:

    • Thermostat: Verify the thermostat is set to cool and the temperature is set at least 2 degrees below the current indoor temperature.
    • Outdoor Unit: Ensure the outdoor unit’s fan is running. If not, the issue might lie with the thermostat, power supply, or wiring.
    • Vents: Check for airflow from the vents. If there’s no airflow, the problem likely lies with the air handler. If airflow is weak or not cold, check the air filter and refrigerant charge.
  2. 5 Reasons Why Your Heat Pump Isn’t Cooling:

    • Malfunctioning Thermostat: Ensure it’s set to cooling mode and the temperature settings are correct.
    • Stuck in Heating Mode: A jammed reversing valve might be preventing the switch to cooling mode. Contact an HVAC professional for repairs.
    • Heat Pump Won’t Activate: Check the breakers, indoor and outdoor units, and the outdoor unit’s reset button. If the system doesn’t activate, seek professional help.
    • Frozen System: A frozen heat pump hinders heat transfer. Seal leaks, replace dirty air filters, and clean coils regularly to prevent freezing.
    • Defective Blower: If the blower is malfunctioning, ensure the thermostat is set to the “auto” setting for efficient operation.

Understanding Heat Pump Components

A heat pump system includes various components working together to maintain indoor comfort:

  • Outdoor Unit: Captures and stores outside air.
  • Air Handler: Contains the evaporator coil and blower motor, distributing air throughout your home.
  • Heater: Provides emergency heating when temperatures drop.
  • Refrigerant: Moves through the system for heating and cooling.
  • Compressor: Distributes refrigerant within the system.
  • Reversing Valve: Switches the refrigerant’s direction for heating or cooling.
  • Thermal Expansion Valve: Controls the refrigerant flow to the evaporator coil.

Regular maintenance and prompt repairs are essential for the efficient operation of these components, ensuring your heat pump provides reliable heating and cooling year-round.

Professional Repair Services

For unresolved cooling issues, consider contacting BCRC Heating Services, which offers comprehensive heat pump repair, installation, and HVAC services in Jacksonville and the surrounding areas. Their experienced technicians can diagnose and repair a wide range of heat pump issues, ensuring your system operates efficiently and effectively.


Heat pump problems can range from simple fixes to complex issues requiring professional intervention. Regular maintenance, proper thermostat settings, and timely repairs are crucial for maintaining optimal performance and energy efficiency. If DIY troubleshooting doesn’t resolve the issue, don’t hesitate to hire a qualified HVAC technician to ensure your home remains comfortable year-round.

By understanding the common problems and solutions associated with heat pumps, homeowners can take proactive measures to address minor issues before they escalate into costly repairs. Investing in regular maintenance and professional services not only extends the lifespan of your heat pump but also enhances its efficiency, ultimately saving you money on energy bills.

Whether you’re dealing with a heat pump that isn’t cooling, heating, or turning on, this comprehensive guide provides valuable insights and practical tips to help you troubleshoot and resolve common issues. For more complex problems, always rely on the expertise of a professional HVAC technician to ensure your system operates smoothly and efficiently.

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Why Heat Pump Not Cooling
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FAQs on Heat Pump Problems

What are common heat pump problems? Common problems include malfunctioning thermostats, low refrigerant levels, dirty air filters, and issues with the reversing valve. Regular maintenance can help identify and resolve these issues before they become major problems.

How long do heat pumps typically last? Heat pumps generally last about 15 years with proper maintenance. Regular servicing and timely repairs can extend the lifespan of your heat pump.

What should I do if my heat pump isn’t heating? If your heat pump isn’t heating, check for blocked or clogged outdoor units, dirty air filters, or low refrigerant levels. If these steps don’t resolve the issue, contact a professional technician.

How can I diagnose heat pump problems? Start with the thermostat and air filter. If the problem persists, check the power supply and outdoor unit. For accurate diagnosis and repair, call a professional HVAC technician.

What should I do if my heat pump runs constantly? Continuous operation could indicate extreme thermostat settings, a dirty air filter, or a faulty compressor contactor. Adjust the thermostat, replace the air filter, and contact a professional if the issue persists.

Why Heat Pump Not Cooling my home effectively? If your heat pump isn’t cooling effectively, ensure the thermostat is set to cool, check the outdoor unit for power issues, and clean or replace the air filter. If the problem persists, low refrigerant levels or a malfunctioning reversing valve might be the cause, requiring professional attention.

What steps should I take to maintain my heat pump? Regularly clean and replace air filters, clear debris from the outdoor unit, schedule seasonal maintenance, and ensure the thermostat settings are correct. These steps can help maintain the efficiency and performance of your heat pump.

What are the benefits of hiring a professional HVAC technician? Professional HVAC technicians have the expertise to diagnose and repair complex issues, ensuring your heat pump operates efficiently. They can also provide regular maintenance services to extend the lifespan of your system and enhance its performance.

Additional Resources

For more information on heat pump maintenance and troubleshooting, consider the following resources:

  • Manufacturer’s Manuals: Refer to the user manuals provided by the heat pump manufacturer for specific maintenance guidelines and troubleshooting tips.
  • Online Forums and Communities: Join online forums and communities where homeowners share their experiences and solutions for common heat pump issues.
  • HVAC Websites: Explore HVAC websites for articles, videos, and guides on heat pump maintenance and troubleshooting.

By utilizing these resources and following the tips outlined in this guide, you can ensure your heat pump operates efficiently and effectively, providing reliable heating and cooling for your home.

Final Thoughts

Maintaining a well-functioning heat pump is essential for year-round comfort. By understanding common problems, performing regular maintenance, and knowing when to call a professional, homeowners can ensure their heat pump operates efficiently and effectively. Whether you’re dealing with minor issues or complex problems, this comprehensive guide provides the knowledge and tools needed to keep your heat pump running smoothly.

Investing in regular maintenance and professional services not only extends the lifespan of your heat pump but also enhances its efficiency, ultimately saving you money on energy bills. With proper care and attention, your heat pump can provide reliable heating and cooling for many years to come.

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If your heat pump isn’t cooling properly, several potential issues could be causing the problem. Here are some common reasons:

  1. Dirty Air Filters: Clogged or dirty filters can restrict airflow, reducing the system’s efficiency and cooling capability. Regularly cleaning or replacing filters can resolve this issue.

  2. Refrigerant Leaks: Low refrigerant levels due to leaks can prevent the heat pump from effectively absorbing and releasing heat. A professional technician can locate and repair leaks, then recharge the refrigerant.

  3. Thermostat Issues: An improperly set or malfunctioning thermostat can affect the cooling function. Ensure the thermostat is set to the correct temperature and mode. If it’s faulty, it may need replacement.

  4. Blocked Outdoor Unit: The outdoor unit needs sufficient airflow to function correctly. Debris, dirt, or obstructions around the unit can hinder performance. Keeping the area around the outdoor unit clean and clear can help.

  5. Frozen Coils: Frozen evaporator coils can reduce cooling efficiency. This can be caused by restricted airflow, dirty coils, or low refrigerant. Addressing the root cause and allowing the coils to thaw can restore proper function.

  6. Electrical Issues: Faulty wiring or electrical components can prevent the heat pump from operating correctly. A qualified technician can diagnose and fix electrical problems.

Regular maintenance and timely professional inspections can help prevent these issues and ensure your heat pump operates efficiently, keeping your home cool and comfortable.

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