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Why Won’t My Heat Pump Switch to Cooling Mode?

heating-and-cooling-housesThe weather is still cool and rainy in Washington, but soon you’re going to switch your heat pump over to cooling mode for the warm middle of the year. What if that first hot day arrives and you find you aren’t getting cooling from the heat pump when you turn it on? Don’t worry, we’ll go through some of the possible reasons for this, and what to do about them. We’re here to help with any heat pump services in Bellevue, WA and the surrounding areas.

Simple problems

You may or may not have a problem with the heat pump, and there are a few things you can check before you call our technicians for help. The trouble might be a simple issue you can correct on your own.

You might have mis-set the thermostat. If this is the first year you’ve owned a heat pump, you might not know exactly how to program it or change it over to cooling mode. Check with the owner’s manual (most can be found online) to see if you’re running the thermostat correctly.

A tripped circuit breaker could be the problem. When the compressor for the heat pump turns on, it can sometimes draw too much power from the electrical system, causing a circuit breaker to trip. Check the electrical panel and re-set any breaker, then try to turn the heat pump on again.

More complex problems

Let’s move on to the bigger issues that could be the source of a heat pump that won’t cool.

Check on the outdoor unit to see if it is running. This will help you narrow down what’s wrong. If there’s no sound coming from the outdoor unit at all, there are a number of possibilities. One is that the thermostat isn’t sending signals to the unit, so it’s not turning on at all. (Which means you won’t be able to get heating out of the heat pump either.) There could be a serious electrical problem, such as loose or corroded wires. It may even be a compressor issue. All of these malfunctions require a skilled technician to solve—don’t open up the cabinet and poke around inside it, since you may make the trouble worse.

If the outdoor unit is running, go inside the house and determine if the reason you’re receiving no cooling is because no air is coming from the vents or the air from the vents isn’t cool. If there’s no air at all, the trouble is probably with the air handler, the unit that contains the blower fan. A technician can repair the air handler.

If you’re getting air from the vents, but it’s not cool, there are a number of potential problems. Check to see if the air filter is clogged, and if it is, change it for a new one. If this doesn’t solve the problem, the heat pump may be losing refrigerant or the reversing valve is broken. The reversing valve is the part of the heat pump responsible for changing the direction refrigerant moves to switch the unit from heating to cooling and vice versa. A stuck reversing valve means a heat pump trapped in one setting. Both refrigerant leaks and a broken reversing valve require professional assistance right away.

S&L Mechanical Heating and Cooling serves the Greater Bellevue Area. We Offer Quality Service for Quality Living!

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