Heat pumps are very popular for their ability to switch between heating and cooling modes. That, and their energy efficiency, are the main reasons that people tend to install them. However, having that ability also means that there are more ways for the heat pump to develop problems. If your heat pump is not heating properly this winter, there could be a couple different reasons why. Let’s take a look at the possible problems that could cause your heating system to act this way.
Broken Reversing Valve
The reason your heat pump can act as both a heating and air conditioning system is because of a part called the reversing valve. The valve allows the system to reverse the flow of refrigerant, switching the functions of its coils and directing where heat is released. The valve sits in the refrigerant line, and is comprised of a slide and a solenoid. If the slide becomes stuck, or the solenoid loses its charge, the valve will be unable to direct refrigerant properly and the heat pump will be unable to switch modes. If the valve became stuck in the air conditioning mode, this might be why your heat pump is unable to provide heat.
A heat pump doesn’t burn fuel to create heat. It uses refrigerant to absorb and release thermal energy instead. The refrigerant is cycled through the system constantly during operation, being evaporated and condensed to move heat from one place to another. If a leak develops in the refrigerant line, as can sometimes happen, it will drain the system of the fluid it needs to provide heat. If your heat pump isn’t heating properly, it may be because there is a refrigerant leak that has drained the system.