5 Common Winter Problems with Heat Pumps: Missoula Heating Contractors Weigh In

If your home’s HVAC system uses a heat pump, it is good to keep an eye out for the signs of common problems and have an idea of what steps you will need to take in case they arise.  Let’s take a look at 5 common problems that can occur with an HVAC system using a Heat Pump.

1. Refrigerant Leaks In Missoula Homes

The main method of heat transfer in heat pumps is through refrigerant.  It is vital to the heating and cooling process.  If a heat pump has a refrigerant leak, it will not be able to heat efficiently or effectively.  It will have a build-up of liquid, likely freezing, in or on the outdoor unit.  Long-term damage can occur to the unit if the leak is not fixed. 

If you suspect your heat pump has a refrigerant leak, it is vital to contact a Missoula heating contractor immediately.  They will be able to repair the leak and ensure the proper levels are resumed.  Annual maintenance appointments are strongly recommended with heat pumps to help find leaks while they are small and barely noticeable, before they become larger and potentially cause larger damage.

2. Frozen Evaporator Coils in Missoula Heat Pumps

Insufficient airflow over the evaporator coils or imbalanced refrigerant levels can cause the evaporator coils to freeze.  Reduced airflow may be caused by a clogged air filter, obstructed vents, or a malfunctioning blower fan.  Frozen coils will cause a heat pump to be much less energy efficient, causing them to either use a ton of energy or for the whole system to fail.

Missoula homeowners can handle this problem best by preventing it.  Ensure air filters are changed out regularly, ensure all vents are unobstructed, and make sure the indoor unit has proper airflow as well. If you do have a problem with frozen evaporator coils, it is important to call a licensed professional to come check on your heat pump.  Missoula heating contractors are trained to find underlying issues and check refrigerant levels to have your HVAC system working optimally again!

3. Thermostat Issues in Missoula Homes

Thermostats are like the headquarters of your home’s heating system.  If your thermostat is not reading temperatures accurately or failing to tell the heat pump to kick on, it can seem like your entire system is on the fritz.  Everything from short cycling to zero heat transfer can occur. 

Missoula homeowners can troubleshoot most thermostat issues themselves.  Firstly, replace the batteries in the thermostat.  Power supply issues can have a wonky effect on electrical devices.   While the power is turned off, check for any loose connections.  If those steps do not correct your issue, grab your owner’s manual and recalibrate your thermostat.  If you are still having trouble getting your heat pump to function properly, it may be time to call your favorite Missoula heating contractor.  We can help you troubleshoot further and consider what other potential issues may be causing the symptoms you are experiencing.

4. Lack of Defrosting Outdoor Unit of Your Missoula Home’s Heat Pump

Heat Pumps have an automatic defrost cycle to melt any ice or frost on the outdoor unit.  This happens during the winter when there is snow or rain that freezes and accumulates.  This buildup can impede the heat exchange process.  While the automatic defrost cycle typically manages this effectively, issues can cause the cycle to not be effective. 

Missoula homeowners can clear away snow, ice, and debris from the outdoor unit of their heat pump, but also need to keep an eye on it.  If it continues to accumulate ice on it, even when snow is kept away, you could be dealing with a faulty timer, relay, or sensor.  This is the time to call the Missoula heating contractor you trust for an inspection and repair.

5. Noisy Heat Pump in Missoula Homes

Heat pumps making new and unusual noises is a sign of a large range of problems.  It could be caused by a screw loose or a large malfunction.  Different sounds mean different things.  A rattling sound can be a loose screw or connection.  You could also hear hissing (coolant leak), grinding (worn gears), or banging (broken parts).  Each sound is a sign of a different problem of varying levels of severity.

*Check out this article to see what each odd noise a furnace or boiler makes could be indicating.

Missoula homeowners can look around for loose screws, worn or damaged parts, or anything that seems out of place.  If you cannot pinpoint a cause, it is important to contact a Missoula heating contractor as soon as possible.  If there is a broken rod or piston inside your unit, it could cause further damage with every cycle that kicks on.

Missoula Heating Contractors Are Ready to Get Your Heat Pump Running Optimally Again

If you are experiencing a problem with your heat pump and have exhausted your options to handle it on your own, call the pros you trust.  Garden City Plumbing and Heating are here to get your HVAC system running smoothly so you don’t have to waste any electricity or be in fear that you are going to lose heat in the middle of the night.  Whether you are looking for a tech to troubleshoot the system or you want to schedule preventive maintenance, give us a call at (406) 728-5550 or contact us online today!