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If you’re in the market for a new heating system, a heat pump has undoubtedly come up on your list of contenders. But you have one concern and that’s because you’ve heard that a heat pump struggles in cold weather. With our cold winter weather here in Michigan, you’re not sure it can handle the cold.
We’ve written this blog specifically to let you know that you shouldn’t be at all concerned about a heat pump’s ability to heat your home. Plus, there are cold weather heat pumps to choose from. You might even be interested in a dual fuel system. Let’s go over your options and assuage your fears.
You may be wondering if your heat pump is simply failing to change from cooling to heating mode or if something else is causing the issue. Let’s look at 4 possible causes of a heat pump that’s not blowing hot air.
A common question we get from homeowners has to do with how often to change the air filter. If you Google this info, the results can be confusing with recommendations from every month from twice a year. It’s understandable why people get confused!
Although the easiest answer is, “Change the air filter when it’s dirty,” it’s a little more nuanced than that. There are a lot of factors that determine how often you should change the HVAC filter. From your household size to whether you have pets, let’s answer the question more definitively.
If you own a heat pump, you’re probably quite happy with its performance. These two-in-one heating and cooling systems are increasing in popularity and for good reason. But just like with any major system, they still require the occasional repair need from every now and then.
What are some signs that your heat pump needs repair? Unusual noises, a heat pump that won’t switch modes, short cycling, and decreased airflow are all good signs that it’s time to call us for professional heat pump repair. Let’s go into more detail so you’ll know which repairs shouldn’t wait.
A-1 Mechanical is your local heating and cooling specialist in Lansing, Michigan, we help homeowners design systems for both hot summers and cold winters. Heat pumps provide cool air by circulating indoor air across very cold indoor coils. During the winter heat pumps condense outside air and circulate indoor air across hot indoor coils. Because Michigan winters become extremely cold, most homeowners use a heat pump for most of the winter and supplement warmth through a furnace on very cold days.
The goal of using your heat pump is to provide complete comfort while consuming the least amount of energy. Heat pumps are rising in popularity because they are driven completely by electricity. This means the heat pump does not create direct emissions and therefore, is considered renewable energy. When you work with a professional heat pump specialist from A-1 Mechanical you will discover the heat pump’s thermostat plays a large role in reducing energy bills.
The extreme temperature changes in both the spring and fall time mean that for most Michigan homeowners, a working heat pump is more than just a comfort. It is a necessity. This is why we believe it is so important to never be in a position where your heat pump may be compromised. At A-1 Mechanical, we are eager to help homeowners understand how heat pumps work. We also strive to answer every day questions and understand the issues they can cause, like short cycling. However, we understand that you’re not an HVAC expert and may have questions yourself, such as: “Why does my heat pump cycle on and off?” We’ll explain.
What Is Heat Pump Short Cycling?
Simply put, when a heat pump short cycles it is able to turn on, but it does not complete its full cycle. This causes the heat pump to quickly shut down and turn back on again. This eventually can turn into a vicious cycle that leaves your heat pump in worse shape due to excessive wear and tear from turning off and on too frequently.
Reasons a Heat Pump Can Short Cycle
Like any machine in your home that receives daily use, there are a plethora of reasons why your heat pump is short cycling. A few of them include:
Faulty Electrical Components
Trouble with the electric control board that controls your home’s HVAC system is a common cause of heat pump short cycling. The electric control board not only is in sync with your home’s thermostat, but it is in complete charge of when your HVAC system turns on or off.
There could be a number of electrical connection issues or faulty components that are causing the short cycling issue. Regardless, get in contact with an experienced technician before tackling any of the electrical problems you may be having.
Any blown fuses or problems with your home’s breaker board could also affect your heat pump’s ability to perform.
While we are all about smart home automation and upgrading your home into the 21st century, new home technology is not without its faults. A thermostat leaves plenty of room for error. So, if you begin to notice your heat pump short cycling, there is a chance your thermostat is not working as it should, causing the heat pump to turn on and off uncontrollably.
An easy way to check on the status of your thermostat is to check its batteries and connections. An issue with either of those things could lead to short cycling.
Low Refrigerant Levels
You may notice that your heat pump is not keeping your home as cool as you would like it. This could be due to a low level of refrigerant. This can add extra stress to your unit and not allow it to work as optimally as it should, leading to short cycling.
Clogged Air Filter
A dirty or clogged air filter can greatly impact the efficiency of your heat pump. When the level of dust and other contaminants is too high in a filter, your heat pump is unable to perform, which can lead to short cycling. Swapping out your air filters often can help prevent this and further issues with your machine.
What to Do when Your Heat Pump Short Cycles
Once you have come to the conclusion that what your heat pump is doing is in fact short cycling, you have a couple of options.
If the issue is easily recognizable, such as issues with the thermostat’s battery or connection, then you may be able to solve the problem yourself. However, we almost always recommend contacting a team of professionals that you can trust if your heat pump is short cycling. Your home is one of the most important things in life, so don’t trust just anyone with it.
Choose A-1 Mechanical for Any Heat Pump Problems
A-1 Mechanical has been serving the Lansing and Grand Rapids community with pride for years and are excited to continue to do so. With the industry standard for technology and the best team of technicians in the business, we are excited to have the opportunity to show you the difference of working with the best.
If you are experiencing any issues with your heat pump or HVAC system, don’t hesitate to give us a call or schedule an appointment. We are eager and ready to serve you and keep your home safe and comfortable!
As fall arrives, heat pump HVAC systems will start to switch gears, giving the cooling cycle a rest as these units are called upon for heating. Over the cooler months, you may experience heat pump problems that can stand in the way of perfect heating for your home. A-1 Mechanical explains how you can troubleshoot some of the most common heat pump problems and get your heating system back up and running again quickly!
Your Heat Pump Is Blowing Cold Air
Heat pumps should blow warm air through the vents when they run as a heating system in fall, winter, and early spring. If you feel cool air coming from your vents, here are a few things to check before you call for repairs to fix your heat pump.
Make sure the thermostat is set to HEAT, not COOL. If the thermostat is set to COOL mode, the heat pump will run cooling cycles and produce cool air. Settings are sometimes incorrectly changed, causing heat pumps to blow cool air.
Check the fan settings on the thermostat as well. The fan should be set to AUTO mode, not ON. If the fan is accidentally set to ON, it will blow cool air into the house during times when the heat pump itself is not actively cycling, causing homeowners to think there’s an issue with their heat pump system.
Make sure there is no ice buildup on the outdoor unit. If there is, follow the directions below to melt ice from your unit.
The heat pump could be running its defrost cycle when you feel the cool air. The defrost cycle typically runs for about 10 to 15 minutes – wait it out to see if heat returns in the next half hour or so.
Heat Pump Runs All the Time
If it seems like your heat pump is running around the clock, it may seem like there’s an issue to worry about. However, it can be normal for your heat pump to run for long periods – especially if outdoor temperatures are very cold. There are some issues that can contribute to a heat pump running longer than it needs to:
Dirty air filters can restrict airflow through the system, forcing your heat pump to run for longer periods to supply the home with enough heating. Check the filter, and replace it with a fresh one if you find the filter is dirty and covered in contaminants.
Make sure all of the supply vents and return air registers in your home are opened and unblocked. These vents can be accidentally covered by furniture, rugs, and other items, which restricts airflow through the house and forces the heat pump to run longer periods.
Air leaks in ducts, window frames, door jambs, and other problematic areas throughout the house could cause your home to take on excess cool air. This lowers the temperature in your home, forcing the heat pump to run longer periods to make up the warmth you need. Air sealing and duct sealing can eliminate this issue.
Heat Pump Freezes Up
This problem is more common in the winter when outdoor temperatures are chilly. The outdoor heat pump unit may show a layer of frost or ice on its exterior, which is normal and is periodically removed through the system’s defrost cycle. If the defrost cycle isn’t removing this frost or outside conditions prevent the heat pump from shedding ice, the system will not work correctly.
If you find a heavy layer of ice atop your outdoor heat pump, notice the coils are completely encased in frost or ice, or the entire outdoor unit has a layer of ice around it, the system will not work correctly and could sustain damage if the ice is left for too long.
Shut off power to the heat pump at the circuit breaker in the home.
Use a hose to spray the unit with warm water and melt the ice – do not use objects to chip away ice accumulation as that can damage the heat pump system!
If temperatures are above freezing, restore power to the heat pump and run it in fan mode to blow warm air through the unit and help melt any remaining ice.
Frozen heat pump problems occur for various reasons, such as low refrigerant, issues with the defrost cycle, and even water leaking onto the unit from a faulty gutter above. Make sure overhead gutters are flowing properly, and remove any debris from around your unit. Replace the air filter with a clean one if it is dirty. If the heat pump continues to freeze, call your HVAC company for repairs.
Call A-1 Mechanical for Grand Rapids Heat Pump Repair Services
If you’ve tried the heat pump troubleshooting tips above yet are no closer to solving your heat pump problems, now is the time to contact a heating professional for help. A-1 Mechanical performs heat pump repair services for homeowners throughout the Grand Rapids and Lansing, Michigan areas. Contact us today to request an appointment for heat pump repair services.
Contrary to what the name might suggest, heat pumps can be used to both heat and cool a home. When your heat pump isn’t keeping up with your demands when you need it most, however, there can be a number of issues at play. Keep reading to discover what might be keeping your heat pump from reaching your set temperature, and what you should do when that happens.
What Can Keep a Heat Pump From Reaching a Set Temperature?
Unit is Iced Over
Setting your thermostat below 70°F can cause your heat pump system to frost or even completely freeze up. When this happens, your unit won’t run as efficiently and will likely have trouble reaching a set temperature.
Additionally, your system can be prone to more issues if you continue to use it while it’s iced over. The fan blades on your system, for example, can break, or refrigerant may leak within the outdoor unit.
System Isn’t Running
If your system is having trouble just turning on, it likely won’t be able to consistently reach the temperatures you’re setting. This could quickly turn into an emergency, especially during extremely hot or cold weather, so it’s important to call on a professional heating, air conditioning and indoor air quality technician immediately after noticing that your heat pump unit is not turning on.
A professional can diagnose the issue and recommend the best course of action, whether it’s heat pump repair or replacement services.
Vents in the Home are Closed
If some rooms feel as though they’re at the temperature you’ve set and other rooms feel significantly warmer or cooler, the issue could be as simple as having vents in your rooms that are closed. Ensure that all rooms in the home have open vents before reaching out to a professional about having your unit inspected.
Allowing the air to circulate and flow freely can do wonders in helping your home reach the temperature that you’ve set.
What are Some Common Heat Pump Problems?
Lack of Power
The risk of having a heat pump is that they’re fully electric, which can cause issues in the event that your home’s power supply goes out. If your heat pump isn’t turning on but you haven’t recently suffered a power outage, ensure that the circuit breaker hasn’t been tripped.
A lack of power to your heat pump for too long can cause the evaporator coil to freeze and not work when the AC turns back on. If the system hasn’t had power for over half an hour, get in touch with a professional to learn about the best way to turn the system back on to ensure you don’t experience any issues.
Sometimes, a heat pump that doesn’t reach the set temperature can be the fault of your thermostat, rather than the heat pump itself. If you’ve had your heat pump inspected and everything appears to be normal, have your thermostat checked. The unit could be calibrated incorrectly and not communicating with the heat pump.
Reversing Valve is Broken
The reversing valve within your heat pump is the part that allows the unit to be used for both heating and cooling. When this valve is broken, it can cause inefficient heating and cooling and should be fixed immediately.
A-1 Mechanical Solves Heat Pump Issues
Heat pumps are complex systems that can often be confusing. When your heat pump experiences any issues that cause it to not work as efficiently as it once did, you should get in touch with an HVAC professional. Doing so will ensure that the issue is fixed properly to give your family enhanced comfort and safety all year long.
The experts at A-1 Mechanical know that you can’t afford to be without proper heating and cooling during the coldest and hottest of days. If your heat pump isn’t working properly and experiences any of the issues above, or any not on that list, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.
Contact A-1 Mechanical for Heat Pump Services
For all of your HVAC system service needs in the Lansing or the Grand Rapids, MI area, get in contact with the experts at A-1 Mechanical, and schedule an appointment today. We’ll provide your heat pump with the service and attention to detail that you deserve.
Heat pump maintenance is critical to the performance, energy efficiency and longevity of your Lansing area home’s heat pump system. These popular HVAC systems offer both cooling during the warm months and heating for the cold ones. Because they’re used for more of the year than an air conditioner or furnace, there may be some confusion regarding how often heat pump maintenance should be performed.
Because you rely on the heat pump for year-round indoor comfort, maintenance for your system must be a priority. In this blog, the NATE-certified technicians at A-1 Mechanical explain how frequently tune ups are required and detail the maintenance care your system needs to stay in top shape.
How Frequently Is Heat Pump Maintenance Needed?
As mentioned above, heat pumps pull double duty in Michigan homes, delivering both heating and cooling. Because they run most of the year, they experience more wear and tear. Because of this, heat pump service is recommended two times per year for residential units.
When Should Heat Pump Tune Ups be Performed?
Just like maintenance for air conditioning units and furnaces, heat pump tune ups should typically be performed in the spring and fall – once before warmer weather arrives and again before winter. This timing ensures the tune up is completed before entering periods of heavy use. A tune up will prepare your system to perform efficiently when needed, and issues in need of repair can be resolved before you’re surprised with a heat pump malfunction when you turn it on for the first time each season.
What Does a Heat Pump Tune Up Include?
A professional heat pump maintenance tune up includes many steps that work to enhance energy efficiency, improve performance levels and prevent future repairs. These steps include:
Airflow measurement through the system
Verification of refrigerant charge
Inspection of refrigerant lines
Tightening and cleaning of electrical connections
Lubrication of motors
Inspection and tightening of belts
Testing startup, shutdown and other controls
Verification of thermostat operation
A-1 Mechanical’s Residential Preventive Maintenance Plans make it easy to stay on top of your heat pump’s maintenance requirements. Join today and you’ll receive two yearly system tune ups plus other valuable services and discounts.
Maintenance Steps for Homeowners
In addition to two yearly tune ups, your home’s heat pump requires additional care from you throughout the year. These tasks are easy to perform as part of your regular home maintenance routine.
Change the air filter on a regular basis. Check the recommended replacement frequency given by the filter manufacturer and visually assess the existing filter monthly so you’ll know when a replacement is needed.
Keep the outdoor unit free of debris. Remove grass clippings, mulch and other yard waste that accumulates on the unit’s fins. Remove any vegetation growing along the unit, and trim back shrubs to provide at least 24 inches of clearance surrounding the unit.
Call A-1 Mechanical for Heat Pump Maintenance
A-1 Mechanical helps homeowners throughout the Greater Lansing area care for their heating and cooling units. We perform comprehensive heat pump service tune ups that improve system performance and energy efficiency so it is able to deliver more reliable, cost-effective comfort inside the home. Schedule heat pump tune up today!
Is your heat pump not blowing hot air? This frustrating problem is common with heat pump owners, but it doesn’t always mean your system is damaged. Check out these common reasons that heat pumps may not produce hot air constantly and when to consult with a professional at A-1 Mechanical.
Common Reasons For Heat Pump Not Blowing Hot Air
If you notice that the heat coming out of your vents isn’t as warm as you would like it to be, go through this list before you worry. However, remember, any time you find your heat pump not blowing hot air, call a Lansing, MI heating repair contractor to have them troubleshoot the issue for you.
Air May Be Warm, But Not Feel Like It
When your heat pump produces warm air, the air blowing out of your vents will be somewhere in the 85 to 92°F range. However, this temperature pales in comparison with the air emanating from a gas furnace, which is typically between 130 to 140°F. If you are new to a heat pump system, keep in mind that the air coming from your vents will not feel as warm as the air stemming from a gas furnace, but heat pumps will warm your home to the desired temperature — if you give it time.
Heat Pump System Could Be In “Defrost” Mode
When the weather outdoors drops, condensation and frost accumulate on the outdoor components of your heat pump. To keep your system operational, it triggers a “defrost mode,” which runs every 30, 60 or 90 minutes, depending on the model of heat pump you have. When defrost mode runs, the air coming from your vents will feel cool. However, when defrost mode ends, the system will return to providing warm air.
Your Heat Pump Could Have A Refrigerant Leak
Your heat pump uses refrigerant to transfer any warmth from the air outside into your home. Unfortunately, if there is a leak in your line somewhere, it could inhibit your heat pump’s ability to provide this service, creating cold air from your vents.
Frozen Outdoor Components on Your Heat Pump
Occasionally, refrigerant leaks cause outdoor components to freeze, even after several defrost cycles. If this is the case, your heat pump system needs to be professionally addressed. You may see frost or ice buildup on your outdoor heat pump unit that does not seem to melt. The system is unable to work and blow hot air in this case.
Damaged Reversing Valve
Heat pumps are special because they heat your home during the winter and provide air conditioning to your home during summer. This process changes with the help of a reversing valve, which switches the direction of the refrigerant. However, if your reversing valve is damaged, your system may be stuck in air conditioning mode.
When Should You Call For A Heat Pump Repair?
It’s always a good idea to keep your fingers on the pulse of your HVAC system. Here at A-1 Mechanical, we recommend calling whenever you see there is an ongoing problem, or if there are new changes to your heat pump system that are creating heating and cooling problems.
Problems? A-1 Mechanical is Here to Help
Our team has been helping residents throughout the greater Lansing and Grand Rapids area since 1983s, and we are committed to taking care of the job the right way the first time. We offer residential and commercial heating and cooling service, helping people to stay safe and comfortable. For heat pump repair, schedule heating service today.