Homeowners in the Carrollton, TX, area have taken to heat pumps in a big way. They offer energy efficiency that’s up to double that of standard AC systems in the summer and over four times that of conventional heating systems in the winter. However, they do take a little bit of getting used to since they differ from the types of HVAC systems used in the past. For that reason, it’s not uncommon for new heat pump owners to panic a little bit when they realize that their heat pump won’t turn on.

The experts here at Dring Air Conditioning & Heating put together this informative guide to the common reasons that a heat pump won’t turn on. We’ll discuss the problems that often lead to a heat pump that won’t turn on and what to do about each.

1. A Thermostat Problem

By far, the most common reason that a heat pump will fail to turn on is an issue with the system’s thermostat. More often than not, it comes down to a thermostat that’s programmed incorrectly, and that is preventing the heat pump from operating as expected. If your heat pump won’t turn on when you want it to, your thermostat’s the first thing to investigate.

If your system has an ordinary programmable thermostat, review its schedule settings to check if they’re correct. If you aren’t sure, try turning off the thermostat’s program mode and then setting your desired temperature manually. Often, this will cause the heat pump to turn on, thus proving that a rogue thermostat schedule’s to blame for the problem.

If you’ve tried everything you can think of on your thermostat and still can’t get your heat pump to turn on, that still doesn’t mean your thermostat’s not at fault. There could still be an electrical issue that’s preventing the thermostat from communicating with the heat pump. To confirm if that’s the case, you’ll need to call in a heat pump system expert like Dring Air Conditioning & Heating.

2. A Broken Starter Capacitor

When you ask your heat pump to turn on to either heat or cool your home, it needs to engage its compressor and fans. Those components take quite a bit of power to get running and would ordinarily trip your circuit breaker due to excessive demand. That’s why heat pumps include something called a starter capacitor. It’s like a battery that can store high-voltage electricity to act as a booster when your heat pump needs excess power to start up. If that component fails, your heat pump won’t turn on when you want it to.

Since starter capacitors are electrical components and carry high-voltage electricity, they aren’t something you should ever try to examine yourself. However, you may be able to tell when your heat pump’s starter capacitor is causing your system to not turn on. If you stay beside the system’s outdoor unit and you hear a clicking sound when the heat pump tries to turn on, and it doesn’t start up, your starter capacitor may have failed.

3. A Broken or Damaged Reversing Valve

Heat pumps can cool your home in the summer and heat it in the winter, and that functionality depends on some specialized hardware that conventional systems don’t have. One of the most important among them is something called a reversing valve. It’s what allows your heat pump to vent heat in the summer and absorb it from outside in winter. It controls the direction of the flow of coolant between the indoor and outdoor parts of your heat pump system. If your heat pump’s reversing valve gets broken or damaged, your heat pump may not turn on.

A damaged or broken reversing valve will typically display some obvious symptoms. One of them is an ability to engage in one, but not both, of its operating modes. An easy way you can check for this is to try and see if your heat pump will turn on in either of its modes of operation, heating or cooling. If you see it won’t turn on to cool your home, turn up your thermostat to see if it will engage while in heat mode. If so, the reversing valve could be stuck in a way that prevents normal operations. The solution, then, is to call on the team here at Dring Air Conditioning & Heating to schedule a repair.

4. A Power Failure

Although it might seem obvious to check on your heat pump’s power supply the moment it doesn’t turn on, this is a step that plenty of homeowners fail to take. Your first stop is to look at the heat pump’s power box — typically mounted on a wall nearby — to see that it’s still in the on position. If it’s not, that could be the whole problem. If it’s on, however, you still have a few things to check.

The next stop is your home’s circuit breaker panel. If you notice that the breaker responsible for powering your heat pump tripped, that’s the reason your heat pump won’t turn on. You shouldn’t just switch it back on, though. It’s possible that the breaker tripped because of an electrical short or some other malfunction in your heat pump. If that’s the case, you’d risk damaging your heat pump if you simply turned the breaker back on and tried to start the system.

If your heat pump’s breaker tripped, it’s a good idea to have the system examined by a qualified repair person. They’ll have the tools and knowledge necessary to check your heat pump for faults to make certain it’s not in any danger of suffering damage from further operations. If there is a problem, repairing it before turning your system back on is essential. Otherwise, you could find yourself needing a premature heat pump replacement.

Complex Machines and Simple Solutions

Heat pumps come with some pretty clear benefits that make them an excellent heating and cooling choice for homes in Carrollton. Their reduced operating costs alone make them worth a look when the time comes to replace your home’s heating or cooling systems. However, they are somewhat more complicated than traditional furnaces and air conditioning systems. Therefore, keeping on top of a heat pump’s maintenance needs is always necessary if you want to get the most out of your investment.

Now that you know about the common reasons that a heat pump might not turn on when you want it to and how to handle each situation, you won’t have to panic when a problem arises. If one does, simply assess the situation and call us here at Dring Air Conditioning & Heating for help. We’ve served the Carrollton area since 1953, and the secret to our staying power is our commitment to providing you with the best air conditioning and heating services possible. It’s allowed us to grow into one of the largest HVAC dealers in North Texas with a five-star rating from Home Services Review since 2008.

If your heat pump won’t turn on and you need help solving the problem, call Dring Air Conditioning & Heating right away.

Dennis Chaisson

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