A-1 Mechanical Blog: Posts Tagged ‘heat pump’

Do Heat Pumps Struggle in Cold Weather?

Monday, January 1st, 2024

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.

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Using and Maintaining Your Heat Pump

Tuesday, April 11th, 2023

How to Improve Your Heat Pump’s Efficiency

How to Improve Your Heat Pump's Efficiency

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.

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How Come My Heat Pump Cycles on and Off?

Wednesday, March 30th, 2022
Heat Pump

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.

Thermostat Issues

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!

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Common Heat Pump Problems and How to Fix Them

Monday, September 20th, 2021
Heat Pump

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.

  1. Shut off power to the heat pump at the circuit breaker in the home.
  2. 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!
  3. 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.

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