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Brown's Heating & Cooling Blog

“Help! My Heat Pump Won’t Switch Modes”


By the definition of most Colorado Springs residents, temperatures are still pretty “mild.” Still, though, you are probably at least itching to turn on your heater during our very chilly nights. So, what happens if you went to switch your heat pump from cooling mode to heating mode, only to discover that it won’t switch over?

First off, it’s worth mentioning that this problem is a lot less likely to happen with preventive maintenance. While a standard central air conditioner or furnace needs maintenance once a year, a heat pump does twice the work as these conventional systems and therefore needs twice the care.

Maintenance allows our professionals to thoroughly inspect, clean, and adjust components that need it. We’ll also check for signs that your system needs repair, and alert you to those repair needs so you can get that on your schedule.

If you’ve already had maintenance done in the last few months, however, and you’re still experiencing this problem, then it’s very clear something is amiss. But what is it? Read on to find out!

The Problem May Be Minor!

First off, if your heat pump isn’t working as you expect it should, don’t panic right away. First, check to make sure that your thermostat is correctly set. We don’t just mean that it is in heating mode, but also that you don’t have a pre-programmed setting that might be interfering.

Next, check the air filter. The air filter that comes with your heat pump is in place to protect the interior components of the system from dust, dirt, and other debris that can do it harm. The problem comes from an air filter that gets too clogged up. You see, you need to change this air filter every 1-3 months, depending on the filter type. Otherwise, it will get so clogged up it will restrict airflow.

When airflow is restricted, it might feel like you’re not getting enough warmth, but the truth is that it may just be stuck in the system due to the filter.

When the Problem Isn’t Minor

If your thermostat and air filter have been ruled out as culprits, then it’s time to give us a call.

What you are most likely dealing with is a broken reversing valve. This is a vital component in the heat pump, as it allows the system to work as both a cooling and a heating system. As refrigerant exits the compressor, it enters this valve, which controls whether the hot, high-pressured chemical blend will move first to the outdoor coil or the indoor coil. This determines whether your system will go in heating mode or cooling mode.

So, if the reversing valve gets stuck at any part of this process, the heat pump will too get stuck in whatever mode it was in. Our professionals are quite familiar with this problem and are happy to help! Many times the reversing valve can be repaired, although sometimes it’s better to replace the valve for more reliable heat pump operation.

For professional heating repair service, contact Brown’s Heating & Cooling.

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