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Heat pumps are very popular, especially in states with mild winters like Arkansas. With these units, homeowners can save considerably on heating costs. Whereas furnaces generate warmth to heat your home, heat pumps move heat around. Because the unit operates quietly, you might wonder if it’s really working. These systems are quiet by nature. However, they do need attention from time to time. Here’s how to tell when your Maumelle, AR heat pump needs repair:

Heat Pump Ices Up in Winter

In most cases, a light coating of ice in winter is normal. The unit will periodically shift into defrost mode to melt the ice. Sometimes, though, the unit will develop a thick coating of ice that covers the coils or the entire unit. If that happens, the pump will generally shut down to prevent damage to the system. All that ice can harm the fins, the fan blades and the compressor.

Heavy ice that forms quickly can mean that the defrost mechanism isn’t working. It can fail due to faulty sensors, controls or relays. There could be a problem with the reverse valve that switches the unit from heating mode to AC mode. The refrigerant level may be low, or there may be a problem with the outdoor fan motor. If your unit isn’t defrosting, or if the defrost mechanism isn’t melting the ice, turn the unit off and summon help.

Heat Pump Ices Up in Summer

Icing up in summer is never normal. Summer ice indicates a problem with the unit itself rather than with the defrost mechanism. The problem is usually a refrigerant leak, dirty coils or a clogged air filter. Do not operate the unit if it gets icy in summer because you might damage it beyond repair.

Heat Pump Constantly Cycles On and Off

Short-cycling can be caused by a faulty blower, a thermostat that’s improperly calibrated or a clogged filter. Short-cycling can make the unit overheat. If the indoor temperature differs from the thermostat setting, the thermostat’s heat anticipator may be causing the problem.

Blower Has Stopped Working

Check the thermostat’s fan switch. If it’s set to “On,” turn it to “Off” or “Auto.” If the blower still isn’t working, the limit switch may need adjustment. The plenum is the part of the pump that directs heated air to all the ducts. The limit switch is situated below the plenum. If the air in the plenum gets too hot, the limit switch will turn off the system. If the motor is working but the blower is not, the belt that connects these two components may be broken.

The Unit Is Noisy

Out-of-the-ordinary noises are a common red flag for HVAC systems. If you hear grinding, rattling, screeching, squealing, buzzing, humming or other alarming sounds, turn off the unit. These noises can indicate anything from a broken belt or a loose part to a bent blower blade.

Your Heat Pump Performs Poorly and Utility Bills Are Going Up

If your pump hasn’t been serviced for a year, the unit can fail to keep you comfortable and cause utility bills to increase. Studies show that up to 95 percent of all emergency repair calls and unexpected equipment breakdowns are directly attributable to poor maintenance.

You Have Weak Airflow and Problems With Indoor Air Quality

A dirty or clogged air filter can create multiple problems. These issues range from poor air flow from the vents to condensate drain line backups and poor indoor air quality. Check your filter every 30 days and replace it promptly whenever it looks dirty.

If your heat pump is repeatedly tripping the circuit breaker, have it examined before turning it back on. Continuing to operate the system when it’s ailing can damage the unit. To learn more about common heat pump repair issues in Conway, Arkansas, homes, visit Freyaldenhoven Heating and Cooling or call us at (501) 859-0050 so we can help you troubleshoot your system.