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Robbins Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc. Blog

Common Heat Pump Repairs in Winter

cold-man-thermostat-handsA heat pump system is a single system that provides both heating and cooling. It’s convenient, but it means you use it quite a bit. At any time of year, problems can come up with a heat pump. But homeowners in our area are often more surprised when issues come up in the winter.

We tend to use our air conditioners for longer than we use our heaters in this part of the country. But if you have a heat pump, it doesn’t matter which setting you use the most often—problems are bound to come up at some point. Cold weather can take a toll on the heat pump, but so can general wear and tear! Here are some of the most common problems we come across.

Refrigerant Leak

You expect to have low refrigerant affect you in the summer—but in the winter? This can be surprising, but that’s only if you don’t realize how a heat pump works. Refrigerant is necessary for operation in both the winter and the summer, because refrigerant transfers heat. When cooling, it helps to move heat out of the home, and when heating, it can absorb heat from the outdoors and move it in.

A leak in the refrigerant line means there isn’t enough to properly absorb and transfer that heat. This can cause damage to the compressor, and of course, to your comfort.

Outdoor Unit Iced Over

The outdoor coil is where heat is released in the winter and absorbed in the summer. You expect it to be cool in the winter. It’s chilly outside, after all, and the refrigerant in the system is actually removing heat from the air. A layer of frost on the outdoor unit is actually quite normal.

However, your heat pump should be running a defrost cycle to get rid of this layer of ice. If ice builds up all over the coil and collects until it blocks it entirely, it’s time to call a technician.

Broken Reversing Valve

The reversing valve is what allows the heat pump to essentially switch the direction of refrigerant so that, in heating mode, it can absorb heat from the outdoor air and move it inside. Towards the beginning of the season, this is often the problem for a heater that only blows out cool air.

It may also happen if someone briefly or accidentally switches the system into cooling mode during the winter and tries to move it back again. This valve will likely need replacement at some point in time.

Electrical Failure

Of course, your heat pump runs on electricity to power the compressor and fan motors. Electrical failure, then, is a quite common reason for heat pump repair. Sometimes, we only need to tighten an electrical connection or replace a small capacitor. However, you might have a broken fan motor, or, in severe cases, a broken compressor.

Don’t waste your time with the run-around. Contact Robbins Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc. for heater service in Blanco, NM.

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