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Heat Pump Troubleshooting for Fairfax Homeowners

Heat Pump Troubleshooting

The countdown to Spring is here, but Fairfax County winters can last clear into April. If your heat pump isn’t working properly, you could be waiting a long time until the warm weather comes along. Understanding how to troubleshoot your heat pump problems can help identify whether you are looking at a big problem or something you can address yourself.

Ice on the Heat Pump

While the unit is heating, the heat pump’s outdoor coils are at a temperature of less than 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Because of this, moisture in the air near the heat pump can freeze resulting in frost formation. Frost will be more noticeable during periods of humid weather.

To address this, heat pumps have a defrost cycle as a part of normal operation. Call for service in the event of the following:

  • Frost that never goes away
  • Frost that turns into solid ice
  • Frost formation that continues to thicken

Steam Rising from the Heat Pump

During the normal defrost cycle, it is common to see steam coming from the heat pump. The steam is the result of frost melting and is more noticeable when it is raining or humid. The defrost cycle typically lasts around 10 minutes.

Heat Pump Does Not Turn On

If none of the components of your heating system are working, an electrical issue is the likely cause. Be sure that the unit has power before calling for service. Be sure to check circuits and switches to make sure they are in the “on” position.

Heat Pump Makes Strange Noises

Heat pumps make noise during normal operation including humming, buzzing and pressure being released. Other noises that are a cause for immediate concern include:

  • Any loud noises
  • Banging
  • Clanging
  • Scraping

Auxiliary Light Remains Lit

The system’s auxiliary light indicate the back-up coils are in use. This should only happen:

  • During the defrost cycle
  • When the temperature is two degrees less than the thermostat level
  • In very cold weather

Outside of these circumstances, contact a HVAC professional.

For additional information on common heat pump problems and solutions, contact Brennan’s Heating & Air Conditioning today. Brennan’s has faithfully served the needs of Fairfax, VA and the surrounding areas since 1979.

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