Why Does My Heat Pump Run All the Time?

American Standard Heat Pump

If your heat pump runs all the time it may or may not be normal depending on a couple of factors. For example if the heat pump is meeting your temperature setting and the external temperature is less than 30 degrees then your heat pump system is likely functioning properly.

Heat Pump

A heat pump operates by transferring heat from warmer area to colder area using mechanical energy. In colder temperatures your heat pump will need to run more to extract heat I order to meet your temperature setting, in fact during cold winter months, your heat pump will normally run continuously.

Problems

If your system is not meeting your temperature setting and the outside temperature is over 30 degrees, then you might be experiencing a problem. Some common problems which can cause your heat pump to run all the time and not meet temperature needs are:

  • A Refrigerant leak can cause your system to blow cold air, noises in the refrigerant lines, icing appearing on the outdoor unit, higher than normal energy bills.
  • Heat pump is running in Air Conditioning mode.
  • The outside unit is not running.
  • Damaged or defective valves, parts.
  • Size and capacity of the system does not meet requirements needed by your home.

If your Heat Pump system is not operating correctly, runs all the time without meeting your temperature settings or you suspect a refrigerant leak, then it is best to have your system looked at by a professional HVAC specialist. Air Doctor Heating and Air offers professional, licensed repair services for all your HVAC, Heating, Air Conditioning needs. If it is time to consider replacing your system, Air Doctor Heating and Air is pleased to provide you with a free quote for you including options: ten year warranty on parts and labor as well as a ten year financing option.

HVAC Inspections, What’s Covered

HVAC Maintenance

An HVAC Inspection provides you with a system analysis which will let you know how well your system is operating. It is an advantage allowing you to make plans to repair or replace equipment before a complete failure.

The inspection will cover indoor and outdoor units as well as the supporting components. Visual inspection, system testing and reporting of the specific results will be provided. The inspections differ a bit depending on which HVAC equipment is being inspected.

Heat Pumps

With Heat Pumps, the components included in the inspection will be:

  • Thermostats
  • Filter
  • Blower wheel
  • Blower motor
  • Capacitor
  • Evaporation Coil
  • Fan blade
  • Defrost cycle
  • Pipes and valves.

Testing and Measuring condenser motor amps, the actual Capacitor farad units vs the optimal farad units, System pressures vs optimal pressures and electrical performance.

Furnaces

For furnaces, this inspection will cover inspection and testing the:

  • Thermostats
  • Filter
  • Safety Circuits
  • Blower Wheel
  • Flue Pipe
  • Electrical Connections
  • Heat Exchanger
  • Manifold
  • Burners and Flame Sensor.

Testing and Measuring the Blower Motor and Capacitor farad units vs optimal farad units, Inducer motor amps, gas valve amps and Manifold pressure.

Boilers

With Boilers, the inspection will cover inspecting and testing the:

  • Thermostats
  • Radiators
  • Filter
  • Burners
  • Low Water Cutoff
  • Flue Pipe
  • Safetys and Zone Valves.

Testing and Measuring the Gas Valve Amps, Gas Manifold Pressure vs Optimum Pressure, Combustion testing.

Air Conditioning

Checking Air Conditioning systems will cover inspection and testing the:

  • Thermostats
  • Filter
  • Temperature Drop Over Coil
  • Blower Wheel
  • Electrical Connections
  • Condenser Coil
  • Evaporator Coil
  • Capacitor
  • Refrigerant
  • Crankcase Heater
  • Relays, Contacts and Fan Blade.

Testing and Measuring the Pressures, Compressor Amps, Drain Line, Electrical Contacts, Pipe Insulation. Coil will be professionally cleaned.

Reports

Findings will be reported as well as recommended service or replacements, if any. Any abnormal conditions or efficiency loss will be mentioned. If the system is deemed unsafe or not able to reach optimal performance Air Doctor Heating and Air can provide you with a free quote to replace the system. New systems include a 10 year warranty on Parts AND Labor. New installations also come with a 2 year maintenance contract included.

Why Does My Heat Pump Have Ice, Frost?

Iced Heat Pump

Have you ever seen ice or frost on your Heat Pump in the Winter? This can often be normal to see from time to time. Your heat pump is designed to extract heat from outside and transfer it inside. As it pulls heat from outside, moisture will collect on the coils. If the exterior temperature is below freezing then frost and/ or ice will collect.

Normal Operation

Normal frost or ice at times is not a concern. At programmed intervals your unit will go into a defrost mode and will melt the frost or ice. Normally your unit can defrost at 30, 60 or even 90 minute intervals.

During defrost mode your unit will sound louder. Some units can be noticeably louder. In defrost mode, the coils will heat up to almost 60 degrees in order to melt the frost or ice.

The colder the weather the longer duration your heat pump will run. Unlike a furnace, which heats the air, your heat pump actually transfers heat. This extraction/ transfer operation requires nearly constant operation in very low temperatures. Your heat pump is designed to operate that way.

Icing Problems with your system

There are several icing problems which may indicate a problem. Some problems with over icing and not defrosting are:

• Faulty controls- There are many controls, relays and sensors utilized by your system. A failure of any of these components can cause your system to not operate properly. A sensor failure can cause your system not to defrost.
• Reversing Valve Failure- This can be a problem with the reversing valve itself or an electrical problem. Either way, it can cause your system to remain engaged in heat mode and bypass the cooling/ defrost mode.
• Refrigerant is low- Low refrigerant can cause the system to not produce enough heat to defrost the coils. If this happens, your system will also not produce heat and your will be running on your backup system.
• Exterior Fan Not Operating Properly- If the fan fails then excess ice form and the system cannot properly defrost.

These problems will necessitate a professional HVAC technician to assess the issue. Contact Air Doctor Heating and Air for a complete assessment and any necessary repairs or service.

The high cost of Heating with Propane

Propane Clip Art

The high cost of propane used for heating a home is a concern. It may be time to consider other alternatives. Propane is a fuel made from natural gas or petroleum. It is a gas in it’s natural form, but converted to liquid in order to more easily store and utilize it.

Forty eight million households in the United States have something that runs on propane. Whether it is a furnace, stove, grill or other appliances. Ten million homes in the United States heat their homes with propane.

The biggest problems with heating your home with propane are the high and fluctuating costs and supply.

Oftentimes these cost variations are unknown to the consumer when they receive their deliveries. You should understand the cost of the propane before taking delivery each time. Prices can fluctuate at any given moment and without warning.

Propane fuel is not government regulated and so the prices can vary greatly and can lead to overcharges of as much as $500/ year for an average home.

Consumers who own their own propane tanks will be better able to price shop from various suppliers. The downside is they would need to maintain their own tanks. By leasing a tank, their supplier options are more limited.

Propane supply can be subject to supplier shortages and for customers who are locked in to their supplier (either by contract, tank lease or geographical limitations) this can mean no propane delivery for periods of time which can prove a major hardship when heating fuel is needed most.

Propane Heat Alternatives

This year it is estimated that propane and heating oil may be up to 10.5% higher than last year. Forbes (Aug 2018) reports that there can be significant savings by converting existing oil and propane furnaces to electric or natural gas heat. Natural gas is most efficient and the least volatile on a dollar to BTU (British Thermal Unit) comparison. The BTU measures the amount of energy required to produce heat.

Contact Air Doctor Heating and Air so we can provide you with a no cost estimate to convert your home to an energy efficient and lower heating cost heat pump system.