Your heat pump is an essential part of your home because it provides year-round comfort. But, like any home comfort system, it’s bound to have some problems once in a while.

Let’s review these issues and how much they might cost to fix, so you’ll have some idea before you contact an HVAC technician. Some of the most typical heat pump repair problems include:

  • Heat pump won’t turn on
  • Heat pump won’t turn off
  • Heat pump won’t defrost
  • Heat pump won’t cool
  • Heat pump won’t turn on after changing thermostat
  • Heat pump won’t heat

1. Heat Pump Won’t Turn On

There are a lot of reasons why your heat pump won’t turn on, so we suggest checking all of them. Sometimes they are as painless as fixing a thermostat setting or replacing your air filter.

Here’s what to check:

  • Is your thermostat on the right setting? If you want air conditioning, make sure it’s set to “cool,” “auto” and that your setting is lower than the room temperature. If you want heating, it should be set to “heat,” “auto” and your setting should be higher than the current temperature. If you use a programmable thermostat, replace the batteries if the screen looks jumbled or blank.
  • Has the circuit breaker been tripped? Your heat pump won’t be able to turn on if it does not have power. Reset the corresponding breaker if it’s facing the outside of the electrical panel.
  • Is the air filter blocked? A dirty air filter is difficult for your heat pump. If you can’t see light through it, it’s time to replace it.

If these steps don’t fix the problem, you’ll need to contact a heating and cooling company like Refrigeration Systems Ltd..

Estimated Repair Cost

This problem can be complicated, so how much it costs to fix it will depend on what’s wrong.

2. Heat Pump Can’t Shut Down

If it’s very hot or cold outside, your heat pump may need to operate longer than normal to reach your desired temperature.

If the weather is typical, check that your thermostat is set correctly and running normally. If the fan setting is at “on,” the blower motor on your air handler will go 24/7. So, it’ll appear as though your heat pump is running all the time. Constantly running the blower can keep humidity levels in check, but it’ll also drive up your electrical bills.

If your thermostat is set correctly, there are several other problems that could be causing your heat pump to run all the time. They include:

  • A new thermostat that isn’t compatible with your heat pump.
  • A malfunctioning compressor contactor, which controls the flow of electricity.
  • Leaky ductwork.

Estimated Repair Cost

This can be connected to a few issues, so your heat pump repair cost will depend on the problem and how difficult it is.

3. Heat Pump Won’t Defrost

Occasionally during cold weather, your heat pump will briefly go into cooling mode. This will melt light frost and ice that naturally accumulates on the coils. A heat pump that becomes heavily iced over may struggle to heat your home or shut down completely.

Here are a few reasons why this might be happening:

  • Your heat pump doesn’t have sufficient airflow because it’s obstructed by snow, bushes or yard debris.
  • Your gutters are dripping water on top of your heat pump, creating an icy buildup.
  • A part is malfunctioning, which may involve the reversing valve, relays, controls or sensors.
  • The outdoor fan motor is damaged, dying or dead.
  • Your heat pump has a refrigerant leak. This is likely if you’re hearing bubbling or hissing noises. Or if you find a sweet, formaldehyde-like odor near the outdoor unit.

Estimated Repair Cost

Like we discussed before, there are a few reasons why your heat pump won’t defrost. But here are several estimated costs for some of these issues. Keep in mind your cost may vary based on your heat pump brand, model and the degree of the issue.

  • Replace reversing valve: $200–$600
  • Replace outdoor fan motor: $250–$650
  • Repair refrigerant leak: Depends on the type of refrigerant your heat pump uses. R-22 Freon is more expensive since it’s no longer being produced.

4. Heat Pump Isn’t Cooling

Just like a heat pump that won’t turn on, a heat pump that won’t cool can be associated to many issues. We advise checking for:

  • Ideal thermostat settings
  • Tripped circuit breakers
  • A dirty air filter
  • Ice on your heat pump

If there’s nothing awry with your thermostat, circuit breakers or air filter, you’ll need assistance from an HVAC technician to identify a problem with your ductwork or an iced-over heat pump. Like we discussed earlier, a heat pump that won’t defrost might have a problem with its reversing valve, outdoor fan motor or a refrigerant leak.

Estimated Repair Costs

These repair costs are estimates. Your total expense may vary based on your heat pump brand, model and the extent of the issue.

  • Replace reversing valve: $200–$600
  • Replace outdoor fan motor: $250–$650
  • Repair refrigerant leak: Depends on the type of refrigerant your heat pump uses. R-22 Freon is pricier since it’s no longer being produced.
  • Seal leaky ductwork: Depends on house size.

5. Heat Pump Malfunctions After Upgrading the Thermostat

If your heat pump won’t turn on after switching the thermostat, the problem is probably connected to your new thermostat. While you can install just about any thermostat with a furnace, the same isn’t true for heat pumps, especially if you need backup or emergency heating.

You can check your new thermostat by switching the fan mode to “on.” If you don’t hear the blower motor running in your air handler, there’s probably a problem with the thermostat.

A couple other typical thermostat problems involve:

  • Wiring was done wrong.
  • Thermostat isn’t interacting with heat pump.
  • Thermostat is in emergency heat mode, which involves a reset.

It’s recommended to have a heating and cooling professional recommend a thermostat and expertly install it. That way, you’ll avoid any compatibility or wiring issues.

Estimated Repair Costs

The cost of professional thermostat installation depends greatly on what type of thermostat you want. While programmable thermostats are cheaper, they are missing the advanced features and convenience of a smart thermostat.

6. Heat Pump Can’t Work in Heating Mode

A heat pump that won’t heat is linked to similar problems with a heat pump that won’t cool. We encourage checking for:

  • Correct thermostat settings
  • Tripped circuit breakers
  • A dirty air filter
  • Ice on your heat pump

An icy heat pump or leaky ductwork will require the assistance of an HVAC technician. Ductwork is difficult to reach since it’s found behind walls and numerous issues can cause your heat pump to freeze up.

Estimated Repair Costs

These repair costs are estimates. Your total cost may vary based on your heat pump brand, model and the level of the issue.

  • Replace reversing valve: $200–$600
  • Replace outdoor fan motor: $250–$650
  • Repair refrigerant leak: Depends on the type of refrigerant your heat pump runs on. R-22 Freon is higher priced since it’s no longer being made.
  • Seal leaky ductwork: Depends on house size.

Fix Any Heat Pump Problems Right Away with Help from Local Experts

Dealing with a malfunctioning heat pump can be frustrating, but not when you call Refrigeration Systems Ltd.. Our pros have been providing the quality, affordable heat pump repair Richmond homeowners have relied on since 1998. Contact us at 778-693-2532 to request your free estimate now.

Average repair costs are sourced from Fixr, which compiles estimates based on nationwide averages.