HVAC Repairs: Heat Pump Is Cooling In Heating Mode

Heat pumps are effective and efficient in heating houses in moderate weather conditions. Like many other household appliances, heat pumps can also run into problems that need quick fixes that should be done by a heat pump repair technician. A common heat pump problem is the unit blowing cold air in heating mode. So, let’s take a look at the potential causes and how you can avoid them.

The Heat Pump Is In Defrost Mode

Modern heat pumps come with a defrost mode that allows them to defrost ice as the outdoor temperatures drop. This feature helps protect and prevent the system from freezing. If you do not know, heat pumps take air from the outside and heat it.

As a result, when the temperatures drop, the outdoor coils of the heat pump may frost and even freeze up. This is where the defrost system comes in and saves the system. So, if you observe that your heat pump is blowing cold air in heat mode, it might be that it is in defrost mode.

However, defrost mode should not last more than a few minutes. The system automatically kicks in and turns off once it detects the ice is gone. At the same time, you should also inspect the heat pump to see if any unusual signs & symptoms are pointing to a problem.

System Needs More Time To Heat Up

Sometimes, when you turn on the heat pump, it might take a while for it to heat up depending on external factors such as the weather conditions. This does not necessarily mean there is a fault with the system but simply needs more time to heat up.

In most cases, it is not an issue but if the temperatures drop below 30 degrees, it becomes harder for the system to draw heat from the outside air. So, you might have to wait a few minutes and let the system heat itself. However, if you notice that the heat pump is not working even after an hour or so, you will need to consult an expert.

Issue With Reversing Valve

Heat pumps come with a refrigerant that helps with the cooling and heating process. Without the refrigerant, the heat pump will not be able to perform either of the tasks. It can flow in different directions and switch the function of the coils.

While the refrigerant works, there is a reversing valve that sits right on the refrigerant line. Once current is provided to the valve, it switches the flow of the refrigerant and causes the unit to start cooling instead of heating. However, if there happens to be an issue with the reversing valve, your heat pump will be stuck and throw cool air.

In this case, you will need to call a professional as accessing the unit is the only way to fix the situation. You could end up seriously injuring yourself if you are not aware or possess the skills to fix the issue.

Frozen Heat Pump

As mentioned earlier, extreme temperatures direct impact the heating produced by your heat pump. If the temperature is below zero and freezing, not only will the coils freeze up but also the entire unit. Apart from the defrost mode, there is nothing much you can do to prevent the situation.

Inspect the heat pump to see if you come across any visual signs of being frozen. Do not defrost the heat pump manually using hot water as you can damage it. Additionally, do not use sharp or heavy objects to break the ice. It can damage the heat pump beyond repair.

Although your heat pump should automatically defrost itself if it doesn’t, you will need to call HVAC companies Tyson’s Corner to inspect your unit and suggest and carry out repairs. Frosted heat pump have many reasons, however, a common reason is blocked air filters and a refrigerant leak.

Low Refrigerant Levels/Refrigerant Leak

Heat pumps require a certain level of refrigerant to function. If the refrigerant levels are low due to some reason or are leaking, the unit will have a hard time cooling or heating up the area. As a result, you will notice that the heat pump’s performance has significantly dropped.

If the heat pump tends to be older, it might have developed cracks or damages, which is normal as units age with time. However, such leaks, especially minor ones, can cause refrigerant leaks and are difficult to spot. In this case, you will need to consult a professional to fix the issue.

Keep in mind that ignoring the problem might result in further issues. Low refrigerant levels put extra stress on the components that might wear them out sooner than you imagine.

Thermostat Issues

The thermostat settings or issues with the component itself could also cause the heat pump to blow cool air. Firstly, check is the settings. If you have multiple family members in the house, it might be that someone has changed the settings. It could be both intentionally or unintentionally.

Some people cannot withstand exposure to hot air for long. So, check if the settings are appropriate. If that does not solve the issue, the thermostat might be at fault. If you have purchased an aftermarket thermostat, it might need replacement or calibration.

Then again, to fix the issue, you will need an expert’s help because they will check out all parts of your HVAC unit so if there is an issue with any other component, it will be spotted early on. This will save you money down the line.

Dirty Condenser Coils

Heat pumps like many other household appliances become dirty. The accumulation of dirt and dust may impede the performance of the unit. The coils in particular are designed to dissipate heat. If there are layers of dirt and dust on the condenser coils, they won’t remove heat properly.

As a result, the unit will have to work harder. Ultimately, the coils might heat up to the point where they will need replacement. To avoid this, regularly inspect the coils and make sure they are clean.

The Heat Pump Needs Maintenance

The most important factor that impacts the performance of heat pumps is maintenance. Maintenance is key to ensuring the heat pump functions smoothly for years. Unfortunately, this factor is mostly ignored which leads to easily avoidable problems.

In addition to performing personal inspections and maintenance, you should also schedule periodic expert maintenance. Expert maintenance not only thoroughly cleans the unit but also identifies problems that can be fixed before turning worse.

This helps avoid expensive repairs and replacements. If you live in a region, where heat pumps are mostly used throughout the year, you might need more than one professional maintenance depending on the usage frequency.

A heat pump free of dirt and dust accumulation, cracks, and damages will perform way better than the one that has been ignored over the years.


Fixing a heat pump that is blowing cold air in heating mode can be a tricky situation. However, if you are aware of some troubleshooting tips, you are most likely to get the system running back to normal. But if nothing else solves the problem, contact heat pump repair services McLean.

No comments yet.

Leave Your Reply


MAGATune is an online music and entertainment journal which features the latest articles about music, singers, entertainments, concerts, and many resources for music and entertainment fans.

If you would like to become a volunteer sponsor, we welcome original articles from you. Please contact for more details.