Why does my heat pump blow cold air?

two hvac heat pumps sitting on concrete pad next to home

As a part of or in lieu of a traditional HVAC system, some homes have what’s called  a heat pump. Our team has helped many homeowners across the Salt Lake City region  install, set up, and maintain their heat pump systems. However, from time to time it  may not function as intended. One of the problems involves a heat pump that blows  cold air. Let’s unpack the source of this problem and how to fix it. 

How does a heat pump work? 

First, it’s important to revisit how a heat pump works in the first place. As we  mentioned, a heat pump may be a part of your normal HVAC system, working in  conjunction with it. Alternatively, some area residents may lack an outside central air  unit, relying on a heat pump for cooling and using their furnaces in the winter. 

But how does it work? Essentially, a heat pump is a transfer unit. It removes hot air  from your home to keep the temperature cooler in the summer. In the winter, it often  will bring underground heat into your home to help your furnace work more efficiently. 

Is a heat pump more efficient than a furnace? 

This question does not have a simple answer, as it’s more location-dependent than  other HVAC questions. However, for those who live up in the mountains, the answer  will be a resounding “no.” You will still want a traditional furnace along with your heat  pump. 

For those of us down in the valley, generally speaking, the answer will also be no.  Simply put, our area does not have what would be defined as a “mild winter.” If it did,  then a heat pump would be a viable furnace alternative. But, since we still experience  all of the fun winter weather, including snow and cold temperatures, a heat pump will  not be more efficient than a furnace setup. 

So why does my heat pump blow cold air? 

So back to the main question: why does your heat pump blow cold air? This means  that your outside unit has possibly frozen and the system cannot transfer warmer air  into your home. It could also mean that you have a dirty or clogged air filter. 

Another possibility is that the air feels “cold” yet it’s still in the 85 to 95-degree range.  Forced air systems blow air much hotter than the thermostat says to bring your house  up to temperature. A heat pump functions at a lower temperature. You may want to  invest in an infrared thermostat to see if it’s actually “cold” or just colder than  expected. 

Steps to fix the problem 

There are several steps you can try to fix the problem if, in fact, your heat pump is  blowing out cold air. The first is to check your filter. The second is to see if there is a  leak with the refrigerant. Another step is to check your reversing valves. 

A final step is to check your thermostat. If it’s set to a constant ON setting, instead of  AUTO, then it will blow air no matter what. This air can be cold until the furnace kicks  back in.  

Contact Beehive Heating and Air for assistance 

Of course, some of these troubleshooting steps are best performed by a licensed  professional. Our team can help you with repairs and processes, getting your heat  pump back up and working the right way. 

Would you like to contact us to learn more? Then send us a message or give us a call  to schedule an appointment at (801) 980-0903.

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