Should my heat pump run all the time? A Florida Tech Answers
October 16, 2019
Our answer? It all depends on the outside temperature.
If it’s really cold or really hot (below 30° F and above 100° F), there is likely nothing wrong with your heat pump. It may simply be struggling to reach the temperature you’ve set.
- If it’s not that cold or hot out (between 30° and 100°), you could have an issue like:
- Undersized system
- Old or outdated system
- Refrigerant leak
- Dirty or blocked evaporator/condenser coils
Below, we’ll walk through each of these potential issues in more detail, so you can better determine whether or not your heat pump is running as it should be.
Want to speak with a professional instead? No problem! It’s our job to ensure that our customer’s heat pumps are working correctly and efficiently. So, if you think there may be an issue with your heat pump, we’d be happy to check it out (and fix it if necessary). Learn more about the heat pump repair services we offer or...
If it’s below 30 degrees or above 100 degrees…
...there’s likely nothing wrong with your heat pump, it may simply be struggling to meet demand.
Heat pumps are unique in that they can work as AC systems and as heating systems.
Essentially, your heat pump works as a transfer mechanism, transferring heat out of your home in the summer and transferring heat into your home in the winter.
If it’s too hot out, your heat pump will struggle to dump heat outside, and it may run continuously to meet demand.
If it’s too cold out, your heat pump will struggle to pull heat from the outdoor air, and it may run continuously to meet demand. However, these temperatures (below 30° and above 100°) are rare for our area, so if your heat pump is running constantly, it most likely means something is wrong with your heat pump.
If it’s between 30 and 100 degrees outside…
...your heat pump could be experiencing one of the following issues.
Reason #1: An undersized AC system
When a heat pump system is undersized, it will continuously struggle to heat/cool your home. This usually causes your system to work overtime to try and reach the temperature you've set on your thermostat.
If you recently purchased a new AC system, this is likely your issue.
The fix: Unfortunately, if your heat pump system is undersized, the best solution is to replace it with a system that is the correct size. Before installing your heat pump, a technician should have performed a load calculation, which would have determined the correct size heat pump you need for your home. However, sometimes technicians cut corners or simply make mistakes, which is how you could have ended up with a heat pump that is too small for your home.
Our suggestion would be to contact the company or technician who installed your system. Depending on the situation and timing, replacing an undersized system with a correctly-sized system may be covered by your warranty.
Reason #2: An old/outdated system
As your heat pump ages, parts will eventually wear out, causing the efficiency to drop.
When your heat pump becomes less efficient, it will have to work longer to meet the temperature you’ve set on your thermostat.
On average, heat pumps last anywhere from 10–15 years. If your heat pump is 10+ years old and you’re noticing that it’s running continuously, this could be your issue.
The fix: Your best bet is to contact an experienced technician to come to your home and assess your current system. They may be able to increase your system’s efficiency through minor repairs and replacements.
However, it’s in your best interest to start shopping for a new heat pump. The longer you run an old or inefficient system, the more you’ll spend on monthly heating/cooling costs. And, you never know when your heat pump could break down for good, leaving you without any conditioned air.
Reason #3: Refrigerant leak
Remember earlier when we said that your heat pump works as a heat transfer mechanism? Well, your heat pump moves that heat in and out of your home via a liquid called refrigerant.
If there is a leak in your heat pump’s refrigerant line, your heat pump won’t be able to move as much heat in or out of your home per heating/cooling cycle.
The result? Your system will have to work longer to achieve the same temperature.
The fix: You’ll need to hire an HVAC tech to repair your refrigerant leak and then refill your refrigerant. Not sure if low refrigerant levels are your issue? You can learn more on our blog, “5 Signs Your Home’s AC Is Low on Refrigerant.”
Reason #4: Dirty or blocked condenser coils
As we mentioned above, your heat pump heats/cools your home by transferring heat either inside or outside.
In cooling mode, refrigerant carries heat to the condenser (outdoor) unit, where it releases the heat via coils that surround the unit.
In heating mode, refrigerant draws heat from outdoor air via these condenser coils. The absorbed heat is then carried into your home.
If your outdoor unit is blocked or clogged with dust, debris, leaves, sticks, etc., your heat pump will struggle to transfer heat into or out of your home, causing it to run longer to achieve the same temperature.
The fix: If you notice that your outdoor unit is covered in dust or debris, you should contact an HVAC tech to come and clean it. On average, you should have your heat pump cleaned 1–2 times per year to ensure that your heat pump is able to run efficiently.
Still having issues with your heat pump? Contact Florida’s best team of HVAC pros
Whether you’re experiencing one of the issues listed above or you think there is something else wrong with your heat pump, we are here to help! With years of experience serving Florida homeowners, you can rest assured that we will determine and fix your heat pump issue quickly and correctly.
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