5 Summer Heat Pump Problems in Charleston, SC and How to Avoid Them

Your heat pump will be an indispensable tool to help you make it through the summer heat of Charleston, SC. However, certain issues might arise that will threaten your ability to stay cool, and you need to be ready for them. Here’s some information about five common summertime heat pump problems and how to either fix or avoid them.

1. Blowing Out Warm Air

It can be extremely frustrating to see your heat pump doing the opposite of what it should be doing: warming your home in the middle of the summer instead of cooling it. The most likely explanation for this is that there’s been some kind of malfunction with its reversing valve.

By switching between one position and the other, the reversing valve can control the direction in which refrigerant moves through your heat pump. The direction of this flow determines whether the system is in heating or cooling mode, and this determines whether it deposits the heat that the refrigerant has captured into your home or outside it. Mechanical malfunctions and debris blockages may get the valve stuck in the wrong position.

Another explanation for this problem is that your heat pump does not have enough refrigerant. After experiencing a refrigerant leak, your system won’t be able to move heat around at the rate necessary to keep your home cool.

Since refrigerant is toxic, never attempt to replace it on your own. Instead, ask a trained technician to replace it during preventive maintenance.

2. Constant Operation

Heat pumps should alternate cycles of activity and idleness. When the temperature in your home is higher than what you’ve programmed into your thermostat, for example, your heat pump should turn on and cool your home until the air reaches that temperature. Then, it should turn off until the thermostat signals it to turn on again.

Sometimes, however, heat pumps might work 24/7 without hardly ever stopping. One possible explanation for this is poor airflow resulting from something like dirty filters or a faulty blower motor. It’s OK to replace your filters on your own, but mechanical issues require the intervention of a professional.

Refrigerant leaks may also cause continuous operation because they diminish a heat pump’s ability to move heat out of your home. Lastly, your system may simply be too small for your home. In that case, you’ll need to replace it with a larger one.

3. Failure to Turn On

You may also encounter the opposite difficulty, and your heat pump may refuse to turn on. If your system overheats for any reason, the resulting damage may force it to shut down entirely. It may also be that, for example, there are obstructions in your registers, or your thermostat isn’t sending the proper signals to your heat pump.

4. Short Cycling

When your heat pump turns off before completing a heating cycle and then turns on again, we call that “short cycling.” Debris that clogs the filters or compressor may trigger this by causing overheating, or the problem may stem from the fact that your system is too large for your home.

5. Odd Noises

When all is working normally, your heat pump should only emit a gentle hum. If you haven’t used the system in a while, you may temporarily hear some clicking after you turn it on. Every noise other than these, however, is abnormal.

Some such possible noises include hissing, whistling, banging and buzzing. Regular maintenance will help to prevent the underlying issues that trigger these sounds. Once you start hearing them, though, let technicians determine their ultimate causes.

Preventing the issues we’ve discussed from emerging in the first place is ideal, but it may not always be possible. Luckily, our trained technicians can get you out of trouble and keep you comfortable this summer. Call M & B Heating and Air for the finest heating and air conditioning services around Charleston, SC.

Image provided by iStock

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