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Why Your Heat Pump Won’t Turn On (and What to Do About It!)

Technician Maintaining Air Conditioner 2

Here in Utah, we get both extremes of weather (reaching 100°F in summer and dropping below 0°F in winters), so a heat pump can be crucial! A heat pump is essential for keeping your house cool in the summer and warm in the winter. So what do you do if your heat pump won’t turn on during those hot and cold seasons?

The great news is that it’s possible to know how to fix certain heat pump problems without having too much knowledge. Of course, depending on how damaged the pump is, you may need a professional to solve your issue.

Let’s take a look at some reasons why your heat pump won’t turn on and what you can do about it.

heat pump

Check Your Thermostat

It may come as a shock, but sometimes the solution to a “broken heat pump” is simply checking the thermostat! It’s not uncommon to accidentally set the wrong setting on the thermostat. So be sure to double-check that you’ve set it correctly. If you have installed the heat pump recently, then make sure it’s the correct thermostat for your AC unit. Not all thermostats are compatible with specific models.

It’s also possible that it’s a fried component within the thermostat. This can be due to faulty wiring or even a power surge. If the heat pump still isn’t working, then it may be broken. The best thing to do is talk to a trained HVAC technician to perform a diagnostic on your thermostat.

Need for Maintenance

A common reason why your heat pump won’t turn on is the lack of maintenance throughout the year. Like many appliances that we use daily, an AC needs proper care in order to function correctly. If we fail to perform essential maintenance, this leads to a dirty AC unit, which in turn affects the unit.

AC maintenance is relatively simple. Of course, there are some things only an expert can maintain, but you can do some of the maintenance yourself. For example, change the filters every 90 days or clean out the air ducts with a wet and dry vacuum.

If the blower motor is dirty, you’ll need the help of a specialized AC maintenance service. They have the proper tools required to clean the motor. You should always have a thorough cleaning done on your AC on a yearly basis or else it can cause hazardous indoor air quality.

Low Refrigerant

If you are frequently heating your home, your refrigerant level can get low. When that happens, your heat strips might turn on more often than they should. A heat strip helps a heat pump produce heat even when the temperature gets freezing outside.

As you can imagine, a heat strip continually being turned on will begin to wear away. It’s a simple repair, but it can cause the compressor the overheat and become damaged if ignored. You can tell the refrigerant is low if frost begins to form on the outside AC unit. If that happens, contact a local HVAC repair service to refill it.

Malfunctioning Reverse Valve

Your reversing valve helps switch the refrigerant’s path in your unit so it can work as both a heating and cooling system. If you notice that when you set the thermostat to heat, cold air comes out and vice versa, then the issue may be coming from the reverse valve. To figure out if your valves are malfunctioning, set the thermostat to cool and see if the room temperature gets warmer.

The reasons why a reverse valve becomes faulty may vary, but it’s usually caused by a damaged wire within the AC unit. If that happens, you may not have a broken heat valve, which is good news! Of course, whether it’s a faulty reverse valve or a broken heat pump, you should contact your local HVAC repair specialist.

Start Capacitor Not Working

The start capacitor is the component of your heat pump that is responsible for carrying electrical charges beginning at the motor. You can know if your start capacitor is malfunctioning when you hear a clicking sound coming from the AC unit. The clicking sound means that it’s trying to turn on, but it can’t due to some problems.

Most likely, you have a broken heat pump and will require a technician to repair it. The good news is that it is usually a quick fix, and you’ll have a working unit in no time!

Frozen Heat Pump

When winters become colder and snowstorms become more frequent, the odds of the coils and fan freezing are quite likely. A heat pump won’t turn on if its components are frozen. If that’s the case, you won’t need a repair.

Hose the pump down with water. Do keep in mind not pick on it with a sharp object as it could damage the heat pump’s parts. After hosing it down, switch the pump to fan mode to finish defrosting it.

Don’t Wait to Get Help

Knowing why a heat pump won’t turn on can be tricky as it may involve opening the AC unit or checking the wiring. So if you cannot figure out why your heat pump won’t turn on, contact us! You won’t want to spend a cold winter because of a broken heat pump!

Call us today at (801) 224-8899 or visit westernheatingair.com to schedule your appointment!

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