If you’re using a heat pump for climate control in your home, you’re going to be putting it under a lot of strain over the next few months. That means that you need to be that much more careful of any problems that might develop with the system. More demand on the system increases the chances of a problem cropping up. Keeping an eye on your heat pump means that you’ll be able to catch issues faster, which means faster repairs and less damage to the system. Have a look at some of the problems your heat pump might have to deal with this summer and how to detect them.
Reversing Valve Problems
The heat pump is able to offer both heating and air conditioning functions thanks to a part called the reversing valve. This is a four-way valve that sits in the refrigerant line, which allows the system to change the direction that refrigerant flows through it. The valve contains a slide, which moves between two positions to direct the refrigerant flow. The slide is controlled by a solenoid, which is an electromagnet.
If your heat pump is stuck in heating mode, it’s probably because there’s an issue with the reversing valve. This can manifest in two ways. Either the slide is stuck in the valve, or the solenoid has lost its charge. If the slide is stuck, you’ll need to have a professional open the valve and free it. If the solenoid is no longer working, though, the only option is to have it replaced.
It’s never a good sign when your heat pump output starts to drop. If that’s happening to you, the likely culprit is a refrigerant leak somewhere in the system. Heat pumps rely entirely on refrigerant in order to stay up and running. The system moves heat from one place to another by evaporating and condensing refrigerant. A refrigerant leak will drop the level of available refrigerant for the heat pump to use, which will cause its output to drop. If the problem is not fixed, the refrigerant level will eventually drop so low that the system will break down entirely. So, if you notice that your heat pump is leaking fluid, or the output is dropping, make sure that you call for repairs as soon as possible.
Rapidly turning on and off every couple of minutes is called short cycling, and it’s not a good thing for your heat pump to be doing. Short cycling can be caused by a couple of different things, like electrical issues or a damaged compressor. Regardless, what matters is that it ups the amount of wear and tear the system suffers. This makes repair issues more common and shortens the lifespan of the heat pump. If you notice your heat pump doing this, shut it down and have a professional look at it immediately.