Using a heat pump in Apopka, FL, or anywhere in Central Florida, is a great way to make your home a comfort oasis. No matter the outdoor temperature, you can turn your heat pump on and expect to get energy-efficient comfort from it—whether powerful cooling or the right level of warmth for a rainy day.
As much as we love heat pumps and often recommend them to customers, no heat pump will work perfectly all the time. A malfunction that people sometimes encounter with heat pumps is when they get stuck in one mode.
You may have come to this blog because you need your heat pump to turn to heating mode for the first time in months. Yet when you set the thermostat for heating, you only get room temperature air from the vents, or maybe even cold air.
We’ll take a look at why this might happen and what can be done to get your heat pump to work the way you need it to.
The broken reversing valve
This is the most common malfunction leading to a heat pump that’s stuck in one mode. The reversing valve is an essential component for a heat pump to operate. In fact, it’s what truly sets a heat pump apart from an air conditioner.
An AC can only move refrigerant in one direction, which is why AC’s can only provide cooling. A heat pump can change the direction refrigerant moves so it can either heat or cool, and it’s the reversing valve that does the job of directing the refrigerant as it exits the compressor.
The valve can become stuck, however, and when this happens, the heat pump will remain trapped in its current mode. When this occurs, you’ll need the assistance of HVAC professionals to come to your home and replace the reversing valve to get the heat pump back to normal operation.
Failed connection to thermostat
The reversing valve may be working fine, but the problem is that the thermostat isn’t able to communicate with it. The thermostat is responsible for sending the electrical current that charges the valve so it changes from one mode to the other.
Your thermostat may lose this connection: it will show on its display that it’s in heating mode, but nothing will happen. The thermostat may also have a miscalibration so that it thinks the house is hotter than it really is, so it won’t activate heating mode when it’s supposed to. You can depend on HVAC pros to fix thermostat issues.
This is a serious problem that affects heat pumps and air conditioning systems. Refrigerant is supposed to remain at a constant level throughout the service life of a heat pump. It doesn’t get “used up” as the system runs.
But a heat pump can lose refrigerant through leaks in its copper lines or at connection points, and this will cause it to lose both heating and cooling power. If you’re getting only room temperature air from your heat pump, it’s worthwhile to have pros look for refrigerant leaks, because loss of refrigerant will eventually cause the compressor to burn out.