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What is a Heat Pump?
Heat pumps offer an energy-efficient solution to heating and cooling your home. Rather than generating heat, heat pumps transfer heat energy. They can transfer the heat from inside your home to outside, effectively cooling your home, or they can transfer the heat from outside into your home, providing you with warmth. Heat pumps use electricity and don’t operate on fossil fuels like most furnaces and boilers.
Heat pumps can be connected to transfer the air through the existing ductwork in your home. If you don’t already have air ducts in your home, there is also a ductless version available called a mini-split heat pump. The condensing unit sits outside while we run a line to the inside of your home where the air will be distributed through the receiving unit. Below is what the receiving unit looks like inside your home.
In BC, heat pumps are essentially powered by water. They run on clean hydroelectricity. If you currently have a system that runs on fossil-fuels (natural gas, propane or oil) and make the switch to an electric heat pump, you could be eligible for rebates from BC Hydro, CleanBC and the federal government.
In general, the more insulated your home is, the more efficient your heating system will be. If you live in an older home, you may want to consider making upgrades to your home’s insulation. By doing so, you may also be able to get away with installing a smaller, cheaper unit. Another thing to consider is if you live outside the lower mainland where temperatures are below the provincial average, a cold climate rated heat pump is a better option. These systems can operate in temperatures as low as -25 degrees celcius.
Jack provides free quotes to install or replace your system with a heat pump. Get started today.
Heat Pump Problems & Trouble Shooting
Here are some possible explanations for the problem you are experiencing. Never try to repair a system unless you are a trained HVAC professional due to the risk of electrocution or another injury.
Heat Pump Won’t Turn on
If your heat pump isn’t working, it could be due to a variety of reasons. We won’t know what is causing the problem until we see for ourselves. Some possible reasons are:
- Thermostat problems. If your thermostat loses communication with your heat pump, it won’t turn on. Check the display of your thermostat. Is it on? If not, it could be as simple as changing the batteries to fix the problem. For hard wired thermostats, check your electrical panel to see if any of the switches were triggered.
- Dirty air filters. When was the last time you had maintenance performed on your heat pump? For most units, we recommend changing them every 3 months. However, follow the manufacturer guidelines for optimal performance. If your air filters are dirty, the unit has to work overtime to maintain the correct temperature. This could cause the system to overheat and shut down.
- Faulty starter capacitor. The starter capacitor provides power to the motor running your unit. If it breaks down, the unit won’t turn on. Do you hear a faint clicking noise when trying to turn it on? This could be a hint that the capacitor is the problem. Never attempt to replace a starter capacitor yourself. They can hold a charge and electrocute you, even when the power is disconnected.
- Faulty reversing valve. A reversing valve issue can be easily identified by whether the heat pump is operating in both heating and cooling mode or not. If the reversing valve is broken, your unit will only provide heat, or a/c, but not both.
Indoor Air Handler Not Working
- Electrical issues. Check your electrical panel inside your home. Did any of the switches flip? The different parts of the system will operate on different electrical connections, so it’s possible one tripped while the other did not. Another possible issue is worn out and frayed wires that are disrupting the power connection.
- Broken blower motor. The blower motor circulates the temperature-controlled air around your home. If this is broken, your unit will not be able to do its job.
Not Heating or Cooling
- Incorrectly calibrated thermostat. It’s possible your thermostat is telling you the incorrect temperature. If you still have the manual for your thermostat, see if there is a section on recalibrating it. If not, you may need to get it replaced or recalibrated by an HVAC technician.
- Low refrigerant. If your heat pump is running low on refrigerant, adequate heat transfer can’t happen. If this is the case, it won’t be able to effectively heat or cool your home. There is probably a leak somewhere that needs to be discovered and repaired.
- Dirty coils. If the coils in your unit are dirty, heat transfer between the refrigerant and the air cannot occur. It’s also possible the coils could have a layer of frost on them. We recommend having a qualified technician deal with these issues as the delicate coils can easily be damaged.
- Refrigerant leak. If you have a refrigerant leak, ice can collect on the evaporator coils. When you turn off your heat pump, the ice can melt and your unit will begin leaking water.
- Drain line is clogged. When your heat pump is on cooling mode, it sucks in humid air from your home to cool. This process creates condensation, which is collected and drained. If the drain line is blocked, it will overflow and begin leaking water.