How much do you know about your heating and cooling system? Does your house utilize a heat pump? A heat pump is an efficient heating and cooling system, particularly suited for winter climates that are commonly at 32 degrees or above and summer climates where cool air is important. Working as a normal air conditioner during warm months, it transfers heat from inside the house into the outdoor air, while in colder weather it collects heat and brings it inside more efficiently than a 100 percent electric furnace can. If your home uses this kind of system, it’s important to know when it needs to be repaired or replaced.
- If you’re not getting cold air, you need a repair. If the output of cold air suddenly drops, it indicates a problem. It could mean a clogged air filter or a refrigerant leak, but whatever the cause of the problem, it’s important to have it checked out. Similarly, if you are using the heat but there are cold spots in your house, it’s an indication that your system needs repair.
- Watch out for frozen coils. If ice is developing on the evaporating coil- (check the indoor coil when you’re cooling, the outdoor coil for heating) – it probably means a refrigerant leak or a very dirty coil. It won’t help to scrape off the ice, you need to call in a professional to repair or clean the coil.
- Strange noises are never a good sign. Is there a grinding or clicking noise coming from your heat pump cabinet? Worse, do you hear clanging, banging, or screeching? Unusual noises coming from your heating system typically mean that a part has worn down.
- Don’t ignore a funky smell. If your heating system smells odd when you first turn it on, it could just be that there’s dust in the ducts, and it’s burning. This is not a big problem, and as long as the smell is gone after a few hours, it’s probably nothing with which to concern yourself. If it lingers, though, something may be broken or damaged within your system. You can try changing the air filter, to see if that helps, but it’s smart to call in a professional to determine the cause of the odor.
- Does your system seem stuck? Sometimes, your heat pump may remain stuck in one mode or another, either cooling when you want heat or heating when you need it to cool. This can be resolved by replacing the reversing valve. Another way that your system may seem “stuck” is if it’s short cycling, turning on and off every couple of minutes. This may be a problem with the thermostat or the compressor, but whatever it is, it needs to be resolved quickly or it could wear out your system.
- If your costs are climbing, it’s time to call in a professional. If your energy bills are rising, it’s an indication that something is not working the way it should. Catching it early can often mean a simple fix, while waiting may mean replacing the entire unit.