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Commonly Reported HVAC Problems:

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Heat pump blowing cold air:

heat pump blowing cold air

There are two different scenarios related to this issue...

  1. The heat pump really is blowing cold air.
  2. The customer just thinks the heat pump is blowing cold air.

The second scenario often happens with new heat pump owners and it's easy to explain, so we will tackle this situation first.

It's actually quite simple... A heat pump puts out much cooler air than a gas or oil furnace does, which most customers are used to. Furnaces tend to put out about 130 to 140 degree air. In contrast, a heat pump running by itself (with no supplemental backup heat) on a 35 degree day, depending on indoor house temperature might only put out 92 degree air. On a 20 degree day, it might drop to 85 degrees.

Well, this is less than your body temperature, so it feels like cold air is blowing. But, it is still warmer than the indoor house temperature, so it is still putting heat into the house. Unlike a furnace that puts out a lot of heat for short periods of time, a heat pump will put out less heat for longer periods of time.

checking the return air temperature with a digital thermometer

So if you are new to heat pumps, try measuring the air temperature with an accurate thermometer before calling for service. If there is no difference between the return temperature and the supply temperature then there is a problem.

Heat pump is really blowing cold air:

Now, what if the heat pump really is blowing cold air? In other words, it's not putting out any heat at all. Well this could be caused by several things. It could even be running in the air conditioning mode due to a malfunction.

outdoor disconnect box

Below is a list of possible causes. Items in red usually require a service call. Items in blue however can be addressed, some even fixed by the homeowner.


Red = Professional fix | Blue = Homeowner fix

  • Low refrigerant charge
  • Refrigerant flow-related problem - restriction/bad metering device
  • Poor efficiency- needs cleaning and servicing
  • Bad reversing valve
  • Bad compressor valves
  • Compressor not running
  • Running in A/C mode
  • Outdoor unit iced-up because of a malfunction
  • Outdoor unit iced-up - weather related
  • Snow drift against outdoor unit
  • Outdoor unit not running
  • Cold return temperatures... Examples include: Air handler in attic with return trunk disconnected from unit; pulling in cold attic air. Unit in basement with a basement return and open windows. Thermostat set too low.

Please keep in mind that the information found on our website is provided free of charge and Hannabery HVAC does not assume any liability resulting from the information we provide. We hope this information helps, but please note that these are just rough guidelines, and not all possible situations are covered. Your HVAC system should be inspected and repaired by a trained technician.

Commonly Reported HVAC Problems

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