Springtime is upon us, and soon enough temperatures will be on the rise, enough so that you’ll want to start using your air conditioner if favor of your heater.
Of course, if you have a heat pump system these are one and the same. The best thing you can do this time of the year is to go ahead and schedule a maintenance session for your system. Since heat pumps work year-round, these systems need a professional tune-up twice a year instead of once a year.
Whether you already had this spring’s tune-up done already or not, the fact is that if you are trying to switch your heat pump to cooling mode and it won’t budge, you have a problem! Read on to learn more about what’s going on here.
How Your Heat Pump Works
To understand how a heat pump gets stuck in one mode or the other, you have to first understand how a heat pump actually operates. Heat pumps cool your home the same way that a conventional central air conditioner does. Your heat pump evaporates refrigerant to siphon heat from inside your home, and condenses it back into liquid form in order to vent the collected thermal energy outside.
The difference between this traditional air conditioner and a heat pump system is that your heat pump can reverse the flow of refrigerant through the system, due to a component called the reversing valve.
The reversing valve is a four-way device that sits in the refrigerant line. Inside this valve is a component called a slide, which moves between two positions. In the first position, the refrigerant moves in one direction for your heat pump to stay in cooling mode, and in the other position, the refrigerant moves the other way to be in heating mode.
This all happens flawlessly thanks to another component, called the solenoid. This device pulls and pushes the reversing valve between the two positions. If there’s a problem with the reversing valve or with the solenoid, then your heat pump can get stuck in one mode or the other.
Problems with the Reversing Valve
If your heat pump gets stuck in heating mode, it probably means that there’s a problem with the reversing valve. There are two possible causes to this. First, it’s possible that the solenoid is stuck. if this is the case, the valve will need to be opened by a professional so it can be reset.
The second possibility is that the solenoid lost its charge, and it is no longer able to move the slide. If this is the issue, the only option there is to replace the solenoid and restore everything to its proper function.
Whatever has caused your heat pump to get stuck in heating mode, or cooling mode, you will need an experienced professional to manage the problem. It might seem like a simple fix just to look up a DIY video, however, this can end up doing more harm than good to your heat pump system.