How Do I Know If My Heat Pump Is Bad?
How Do I Know If My Heat Pump Is Bad?

November 15, 2023

There are few things worse than being left in the cold due to a malfunctioning heat pump. A vital part of maintaining comfort in your home during cold snaps, your heat pump can often make strange noises that are either perfectly normal or cause for alarm. Our heating repair specialists have seen it all so we want to make the distinction between a normal heat pump defrosting cycle and other signs that your heat pump may be malfunctioning.

How Does The Heat Pump Defrosting Cycle Work?

During dramatic drops in temperature, a layer of frost will build outside your heat pump which causes it to work harder and therefore less effective. The defrost cycle fundamentally reverses the heat pump process to remove this layer of frost from the outer coil and restore the pump to maximum efficiency. This will often cause the heat pump to make strange noises, shake, or even emit steam. Don’t be alarmed–it just means your heat pump is working effectively!



How Do I Know If My Heat Pump Is Bad?

Increased Energy Bills

  • If you see a noticeable spike in your energy bills it can mean that your heat pump is overworked. 

Strange Smells

  • If your heat pump is emitting a strange odor then it could be due to mold formation. If your heat pump emits a burning smell then it’s important to call a trained HVAC technician because it could become a fire hazard. 

Rattling, Screeching, or Grinding noises

  • While it’s natural for a heat pump to make a lot of noise, the sound of rattling or screeching could be due to a loose fan belt or an issue with a central air fan motor.

Hot And Cold Rooms

  • If there are different hot and cold rooms within your house then it’s a sign your heat pump is struggling to keep up with the demand of heating your home. 


What Are Common Heat Pump Problems?

  • Water leaks (both inside and outside the heat pump). 
  • Moldy buildup.
  • Heat pump doesn’t even turn on.
  • Blockage or detritus surrounding the heat pump.
  • Broken starter capacitor.

It can be difficult to know if your heat pump is bad but everything listed above should be a great indicator. Once you’re aware of the signs of a malfunctioning heat pump, the issues become much easier to diagnose. At Ocean State, we’ve seen it all when it comes to heat pumps which is why we recommend our clients sign up for one of our maintenance plans to ensure no unexpected issues arise at the worst possible time. A broken heat pump does not mean catastrophe and we always recommend hiring skilled technicians to fix the problem and most importantly, save you money on energy costs!

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