Learning How to Troubleshoot a Heat Pump
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Learning How to Troubleshoot a Heat Pump


If your heat pump isn’t heating your home to your liking, or if there’s no heat or power at all, don’t press the panic button just yet. Performing a few simple tips to troubleshoot a heat pump only takes a few minutes, and you may have your heat back on sooner rather than after a service call.

There are a few common issues if your heat pump has power, but it’s not heating to meet the thermostat setting.

  • The thermostat should be in “heat” and “auto” modes. This is a simple but common error.
  • Check the outdoor cabinet. Is the condenser frozen in a block of ice? If so, your heat pump isn’t defrosting correctly or doesn’t have demand-defrost function. Don’t attempt to chip the ice away or you may cause expensive damage. Call your HVAC professional. (Note: Ice accumulation is an indicator of incorrect refrigerant charge and/or a clogged air filter.)

If your heat pump has no power at all, try these troubleshooting tips.

  • The “emergency” electric resistance heat should power on when you set the thermostat more than two degrees above room temperature. If this isn’t the case and you’ve recently installed a new thermostat, call your HVAC pro to make the proper thermostat adjustment or repair.
  • Power may be interrupted at the fuse box or circuit panel(s), or by an emergency, reset or disconnect switch. First, check for a blown fuse or tripped breaker, and keep in mind that your heat pump may use two circuit panels. Next check to make sure the emergency switch is on. This switch is located near the indoor cabinet and looks like a regular light switch. Press the outdoor reset button, if your heat pump has one.
  • Many heat pumps have a disconnect plug inside an electrical box near the outdoor unit. Make sure it is firmly and correctly plugged in.

For more tips to troubleshoot a heat pump or any other HVAC related issues, contact the experts at Roth Heating & Cooling. We’ve helped Portland area homeowners with HVAC issues, big and small, since 1976.

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