If there are changes in the way your heat pump operates, it can be challenging to figure out the issue. For example, you may notice a difference in airflow from some of your registers. Maybe your heat pump is running longer - or shorter - than usual or has ice build-up. These are all signs that your heat pump might need to be prepared for a potential replacement or expensive repair.
At Fire & Ice, we’ve worked on hundreds of HVAC systems in Worthington, OH, and have seen every problem imaginable. But, unless we’re performing routine maintenance and discover a problem, we rely on you to alert us when you feel something is wrong.
If you alert us to a minor problem that can be fixed quickly, you can keep your system from breaking down completely and may have saved yourself a later repair bill in the thousands.
In this article, we discuss the most common changes in your heat pump’s performance that may signal an issue.
8 Signs Your Heat Pump Might Need Repairs
Heat Pump takes a lot longer to heat and cool
This might not be obvious until there’s a hot spell when the outside temperature lingers above 90 degrees for days at a time. When the heat pump runs continuously, it’s giving you a signal that something is wrong.
Over time, the heat exchanger can accumulate dirt, soot, and other debris. In Central Ohio, we see this a lot with cottonwood seeds. This means that your heat pump has to work harder and run longer to cool your home. Your HVAC technician can address this by cleaning your heat exchanger.
Many factors could be causing your heat pump to lose efficiency—a dirty filter, failing parts, parts that need lubrication, etc. Sometimes your heat pump needs attention. A sudden spike could be a sign of trouble.
Noises Coming from your Heat Pump
A host of things can be responsible for strange noises: the compressor, the contactor, the blower motor, etc. If it’s not a hole in the ductwork or your filter rattling, a call to an HVAC technician is in order.
A Muggy Feeling in the Summer
Your heat pump doesn’t just cool the house in the summer by removing hot air. It also removes humidity. And if there’s a problem, the indoor moisture might creep up past comfortable levels. If you have a thermostat that can track the indoor relative humidity, keep an eye on it.
An Ice Buildup on the Heat Pump
Ice can form on your heat pump if the refrigerant falls below freezing, caused by faulty wiring or a dirty coil. This will cause poor performance and even a complete failure. Scraping or chiseling ice from your unit could exacerbate the problem. It needs to defrost and the problem causing the ice needs to be addressed by a professional.
Water pooling near the furnace or air handler
If you notice water near your furnace or air handler during the summer, the seal on your evaporator coil could be compromised. Your evaporator coil is the indoor component of your air conditioner or heat pump. Your evaporator coil produces moisture – that’s why your air conditioner/heat pump has a drain. But if it isn’t properly sealed, this moisture could leak onto and around your furnace.
Take note of any condensation gathering outside of your ducts.
The most common reason for water under your furnace is a clogged condensation drain. Your HVAC partner should be able to do an evaluation and ensure that your furnace isn’t damaged.
Unusual smells are coming from the vents
Dirty Sock Syndrome is caused by mold and bacteria built up on your heat pump. Specifically, this buildup occurs in the system’s evaporator coil, housed indoors.
Basements are typically damp and dark. These are the perfect conditions for mold and bacteria growth. While a heat pump is designed to handle moisture, the internal components can become dirty and accrue dirt and other particles like anything else in the home.
For mold and bacteria to accumulate, they need organic material and moisture. The dust and dirt that exist throughout any home, and the particulates collected by air filters, provide plenty of organic materials (most house dust is made of dead skin cells). Unfortunately, the other part of the equation is moisture, which can be found in most homes, particularly during humid months. The result is buildup, and a powerful odor referred to as dirty sock syndrome.
The drain pan can become plugged up or sometimes starts collecting dirt that can lead to bacteria or mold. Ensuring that it’s clean is an excellent precautionary measure.
Vents are Blocked
This could be due to a significant collection of dust/mold. Or you might have a nest of some sort. It is not uncommon for ducts to become disconnected or damaged. Pieces of an air filter or insulation may have gotten dislodged and wound up in the ducts. An inspection of the ducts can sort that out, and a duct cleaning may be in order.
Besides a loss of comfort, a blocked vent increases static pressure, which strains the entire unit.
Worthington Air Duct Cleaning Services From Fire & Ice
Dirty air ducts are a leading cause of several problems faced by homeowners. Dust, dirt, mold, odors, allergens, and other irritants can make indoor air unhealthy. Clean air ducts can help remedy this.
In addition, your HVAC system will run longer and more efficiently with clean air ducts. To get started, click here.
Will Your Heat Pump Run Without Repairs?
If your system is currently running, but you’ve noticed a drop in heating or cooling quality, or it’s begun to make new noises, it may run fine for a day, or maybe it can run for five years. It might not be as efficient as it can be, but it can run. Repairs can be put off, but you might be facing a more extensive repair bill later.
The best case is that you have a system that’s a little noisier than it once was. While it may not last another five years, it could continue to run adequately for several years with proper maintenance. A simple repair could have your system running smoothly again. The worst case is that the noise is coming from something affecting the integrity of the entire system. In addition, a simple repair may not be enough; if a major component needs to be replaced, you might be facing a bill that’s well over $1000.
Sometimes the unit system can run, and if it’s monitored, it won’t pose an immediate risk to the entire system’s operation, but you’ll lose efficiency and comfort in the process.
It’s important to remember the lifespan of a heat pump is about half that of an air conditioner or furnace. This is because your heat pump does double duty - heating and cooling. Furnaces can last 25 years or more. A heat pump lasts 15 years on average.
Heat Pump Repair Options in Worthington, Ohio
While regularly changing your filter and scheduling routine maintenance is good advice for any system, if you’re dealing with odors or a new noise, it’s time to schedule an appointment with a technician.
Skipping this could mean a loss of comfort, a higher electric bill, or even the failure of your system. Having a conversation with a licensed HVAC partner is an excellent first step.
At Fire & Ice, we take pride in doing the work thoroughly the first time, every time. Whether it’s a repair or replacement, we have the expertise and knowledge to get your system working quietly and efficiently to provide maximum comfort to your home.
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