Heat Pump A/C Isn’t Cooling Well: Find Out Why

Heat Pump A/C Isn't Cooling Well: Find Out WhyA heat pump A/C carries the cooling load of your home all summer long. Heat pumps perform double duty as both the source of warmth in winter and cool comfort in summer. With little idle time between seasons, a heat pump A/C may not receive the preventive maintenance that detects small performance and efficiency issues before they turn into major malfunctions. Depending on the operating mode, heat pump technology moves heat into or out of your home – a complex process that requires more critical parameters than a standard furnace/air conditioner combination. When the heat pump A/C isn’t carrying its cooling load, here are some likely causes:

  • Thermostat issues. It may seem like a no-brainer, but verify that the unit is turned on at the thermostat and that the temperature setting is correct for the comfort level you want. If it’s a programmable model, make sure it’s not inadvertently set to override mode or running a “Vacation” schedule. Try replacing the battery, too, if thermostat operation is inconsistent.
  • Replace the air filter. Heat pumps need a higher volume of airflow to produce best results. A dirty or clogged filter is the primary cause of low system airflow that impacts performance and efficiency. During the cooling season, change the filter monthly.
  • Frost on the coil. This is more of a general heat pump issue. During periods of low temperature and high humidity, frost typically forms on the outdoor coil unit of a heat pump, reducing its capacity to extract heat. If the automatic defroster doesn’t run long enough to melt the frost, performance and efficiency are impacted. Persistent frost on the coil should be diagnosed by an HVAC technician.
  • Low refrigerant. The lifeblood of the system, proper refrigerant charge is necessary for adequate heat transfer. A heat pump A/C doesn’t consume refrigerant so, if the charge is low, it’s a result of improper installation or there’s a leak somewhere. A qualified service person can measure the charge, then use leak detection technology to pinpoint any leaks for repair.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Terre Haute, Indiana about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about heat pumps and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.

Credit/Copyright Attribution: “foxie/Shutterstock”

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    Jeff Paitson Jeff Paitson is a third generation business owner who continues to run the business with the same values that have been passed down from previous generations since 1922.

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    Ethan Ethan Rayburn is a lifelong resident of Terre Haute and a 2005 graduate of Purdue University.

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