Your heat pump is an important part of your home because it produces year-round comfort. But, like any home comfort system, it’s likely to experience some problems every now and then.

Let’s go over these problems and how much they might cost to fix, so you’ll have some idea before you call an HVAC technician. Some of the most typical heat pump repair problems include:

  • Heat pump won’t turn on
  • Heat pump won’t turn off
  • Heat pump won’t defrost
  • Heat pump won’t cool
  • Heat pump won’t turn on after changing thermostat
  • Heat pump won’t heat

1. Heat Pump Can’t Start

There are lots of reasons why your heat pump won’t turn on, so we suggest checking all of them. Sometimes they are as painless as fixing a thermostat setting or changing your air filter.

Here’s what to check:

  • Is your thermostat on the correct setting? If you want air conditioning, make sure it’s set to “cool,” “auto” and that your setting is lower than the ambient temperature. If you want heating, it should be set to “heat,” “auto” and your setting should be higher than the current temperature. If you have a programmable thermostat, put in new the batteries if the screen appears jumbled or blank.
  • Has the circuit breaker been tripped? Your heat pump won’t be able to operate if it does not have power. Reset the corresponding breaker if it’s facing the outside of the electrical panel.
  • Is the air filter blocked? A dirty air filter is difficult for your heat pump. If you can’t see light through it, it’s time to get a new one.

If these steps don’t fix the problem, you’ll need to call a heating and cooling company like Bishop’s HVAC.

Estimated Repair Cost

This issue can be complicated, so how much it costs to correct it will depend on what’s wrong.

2. Heat Pump Isn’t Shutting Off

If it’s extremely hot or cold outside, your heat pump may need to run longer than normal to achieve your desired temperature.

If the weather is normal, check that your thermostat is set properly and running normally. If the fan setting is at “on,” the blower motor on your air handler will run 24/7. So, it’ll appear as though your heat pump is running all the time. Constantly running the blower can keep humidity levels in check, but it’ll also drive up your electrical bills.

If your thermostat is set properly, there are several other problems that could be causing your heat pump to run all the time. They include:

  • A new thermostat that isn’t appropriate for your heat pump.
  • A malfunctioning compressor contactor, which regulates the flow of electricity.
  • Leaky ductwork.

Estimated Repair Cost

This can be linked to a lot of issues, so your heat pump repair cost will depend on the problem and how difficult it is.

3. Heat Pump Isn’t Defrosting

Every now and then during cold weather, your heat pump will temporarily go into cooling mode. This will dissolve light frost and ice that normally accumulates on the coils. A heat pump that becomes totally frozen may have difficulty heating your home or shut down altogether.

Here are a few reasons why this might be happening:

  • Your heat pump doesn’t have enough airflow because it’s blocked by snow, bushes or yard debris.
  • Your gutters are leaking water on top of your heat pump, causing an icy buildup.
  • A part is malfunctioning, which may include the reversing valve, relays, controls or sensors.
  • The outdoor fan motor is damaged, dying or dead.
  • Your heat pump has a refrigerant leak. This is possible if you’re hearing bubbling or hissing sounds. Or if you find a sweet, formaldehyde-like odor around the outdoor unit.

Estimated Repair Cost

Like we talked about before, there are a few reasons why your heat pump won’t defrost. But here are several estimated costs for some of these issues. Keep in mind your cost may vary based on your heat pump brand, model and the severity of the issue.

  • Replace reversing valve: $200–$600
  • Replace outdoor fan motor: $250–$650
  • Repair refrigerant leak: Depends on the type of refrigerant your heat pump uses. R-22 Freon is higher priced since it’s no longer being manufactured.

4. Heat Pump Isn’t Cooling

Just like a heat pump that won’t turn on, a heat pump that won’t cool can be connected to many issues. We suggest checking for:

  • Right thermostat settings
  • Tripped circuit breakers
  • A dirty air filter
  • Ice on your heat pump

If there’s nothing faulty with your thermostat, circuit breakers or air filter, you’ll need assistance from an HVAC technician to identify a problem with your ductwork or an iced-over heat pump. Like we discussed earlier, a heat pump that won’t defrost might have a problem with its reversing valve, outdoor fan motor or a refrigerant leak.

Estimated Repair Costs

These repair costs are estimates. Your total expense may vary based on your heat pump brand, model and the severity of the concern.

  • Replace reversing valve: $200–$600
  • Replace outdoor fan motor: $250–$650
  • Repair refrigerant leak: Depends on the kind of refrigerant your heat pump uses. R-22 Freon is more expensive since it’s no longer being produced.
  • Seal leaky ductwork: Depends on house size.

5. Heat Pump Isn’t Starting After Changing Thermostat

If your heat pump won’t turn on after changing the thermostat, the problem is probably tied to your new thermostat. While you can install just about any thermostat with a furnace, the same isn’t true for heat pumps, especially if you need backup or emergency heating.

You can check your new thermostat by switching the fan mode to “on.” If you don’t hear the blower motor start in your air handler, there’s probably an issue with the thermostat.

A couple other common thermostat problems include:

  • Wiring was done incorrectly.
  • Thermostat isn’t interacting with heat pump.
  • Thermostat is in emergency heat mode, which requires a reset.

It’s recommended to have a heating and cooling professional recommend a thermostat and expertly install it. That way, you’ll stay away from any compatibility or wiring issues.

Estimated Repair Costs

The cost of professional thermostat installation depends considerably on what kind of thermostat you want. While programmable thermostats are less expensive, they are missing the sophisticated features and convenience of a smart thermostat.

6. Heat Pump Isn’t Generating Heat

A heat pump that won’t heat is linked to similar problems with a heat pump that won’t cool. We recommend checking for:

  • Correct thermostat settings
  • Tripped circuit breakers
  • A clogged air filter
  • Ice on your heat pump

An icy heat pump or leaky ductwork will require the assistance of an HVAC technician. Ductwork is difficult to reach since it’s located behind walls and multiple issues can cause your heat pump to ice over.

Estimated Repair Costs

These repair costs are estimates. Your total cost may vary based on your heat pump brand, model and the magnitude of the issue.

  • Replace reversing valve: $200–$600
  • Replace outdoor fan motor: $250–$650
  • Repair refrigerant leak: Depends on the type of refrigerant your heat pump runs on. R-22 Freon is more expensive since it’s no longer being manufactured.
  • Seal leaky ductwork: Depends on house size.

Take Care of All Heat Pump Problems Right Away with Help from Local Experts

Dealing with a malfunctioning heat pump can be irritating, but not when you get in touch with Bishop’s HVAC. Our professionals have been providing the quality, affordable heat pump repair Sacramento homeowners have depended on since 2020. Contact us at 916-591-6889 to request your free estimate now.

Average repair costs are sourced from Fixr, which compiles estimates based on nationwide averages.