Average Repair Costs for 6 Common Heat Pump Issues

December 02, 2021

Your heat pump is an essential part of your home because it delivers year-round comfort. But, like any home comfort system, it’s bound to have some problems once in a while.

Let’s go over these issues and how much they might cost to fix, so you’ll have some idea before you contact an HVAC technician. Some of the most typical heat pump repair problems include:

  • Heat pump won’t turn on
  • Heat pump won’t turn off
  • Heat pump won’t defrost
  • Heat pump won’t cool
  • Heat pump won’t turn on after changing thermostat
  • Heat pump won’t heat

1. Heat Pump Won’t Turn On

There are a lot of reasons why your heat pump won’t turn on, so we recommend checking all of them. Sometimes they are as simple as correcting a thermostat setting or changing your air filter.

Here’s what to check:

  • Is your thermostat on the correct setting? If you want air conditioning, make sure it’s set to “cool,” “auto” and that your setting is lower than the ambient temperature. If you want heating, it should be set to “heat,” “auto” and your setting should greater than the current temperature. If you use a programmable thermostat, put in new the batteries if the screen appears jumbled or blank.
  • Has the circuit breaker been tripped? Your heat pump won’t be able to turn on if it doesn’t have power. Reset the appropriate breaker if it’s facing the outside of the electrical panel.
  • Is the air filter dirty? A dirty air filter is troublesome for your heat pump. If you can’t see light through it, it’s time to replace it.

If these steps don’t correct the problem, you’ll need to call a heating and cooling company like Allstar Heating & Air Conditioning.

Estimated Repair Cost

This problem can be complicated, so how much it costs to fix it will depend on what’s wrong.

2. Heat Pump Won’t Turn Off

If it’s very hot or cold outside, your heat pump may need to run longer than normal to reach your desired temperature.

If the weather is normal, check that your thermostat is set properly and operating normally. If the fan setting is at “on,” the blower motor on your air handler will go 24/7. So, it’ll appear as though your heat pump is working all the time. Constantly running the blower can keep humidity levels in check, but it’ll also drive up your electrical bills.

If your thermostat is set properly, there are several other problems that could be causing your heat pump to run all the time. They include:

  • A new thermostat that isn’t compatible with your heat pump.
  • A malfunctioning compressor contactor, which regulates the flow of electricity.
  • Leaky ductwork.

Estimated Repair Cost

This can be linked to many issues, so your heat pump repair cost will depend on the problem and how complex it is.

3. Heat Pump Won’t Defrost

Every now and then during cold weather, your heat pump will briefly go into cooling mode. This will melt light frost and ice that naturally builds up on the coils. A heat pump that becomes heavily iced over may have difficulty heating your home or shut down altogether.

Here are several reasons why this might be happening:

  • Your heat pump doesn’t have sufficient airflow because it’s blocked by snow, bushes or yard waste.
  • Your gutters are dripping water on top of your heat pump, creating an icy buildup.
  • A part is malfunctioning, which may involve the reversing valve, relays, controls or sensors.
  • The outdoor fan motor is damaged, dying or dead.
  • Your heat pump has a refrigerant leak. This is possible if you’re hearing bubbling or hissing noises. Or if you discover a sweet, formaldehyde-like odor near the outdoor unit.

Estimated Repair Cost

Like we discussed before, there are a lot of reasons why your heat pump won’t defrost. But here are several estimated costs for some of these issues. Keep in mind your cost may vary based on your heat pump brand, model and the extent of the issue.

  • Replace reversing valve: $200–$600
  • Replace outdoor fan motor: $250–$650
  • Repair refrigerant leak: Depends on the kind of refrigerant your heat pump uses. R-22 Freon is pricier since it’s no longer being produced.

4. Heat Pump Won’t Cool

Just like a heat pump that won’t turn on, a heat pump that won’t cool can be connected to many issues. We recommend checking for:

  • Right thermostat settings
  • Tripped circuit breakers
  • A clogged air filter
  • Ice on your heat pump

If there’s nothing awry with your thermostat, circuit breakers or air filter, you’ll need help from an HVAC technician to diagnose a problem with your ductwork or an iced-over heat pump. Like we discussed earlier, a heat pump that won’t defrost might have an issue with its reversing valve, outdoor fan motor or a refrigerant leak.

Estimated Repair Costs

These repair costs are estimates. Your total cost may vary based on your heat pump brand, model and the severity of the problem.

  • Replace reversing valve: $200–$600
  • Replace outdoor fan motor: $250–$650
  • Repair refrigerant leak: Depends on the type of refrigerant your heat pump uses. R-22 Freon is pricier since it’s no longer being manufactured.
  • Seal leaky ductwork: Depends on house size.

5. Heat Pump Won’t Turn On After Changing Thermostat

If your heat pump won’t turn on after changing the thermostat, the problem is probably tied to your new thermostat. While you can install just about any thermostat with a furnace, the same isn’t true for heat pumps, especially if you need backup or emergency heating.

You can check your new thermostat by changing the fan mode to “on.” If you don’t hear the blower motor start in your air handler, there’s probably an issue with the thermostat.

A couple other typical thermostat problems include:

  • Wiring was done wrong.
  • Thermostat isn’t communicating with heat pump.
  • Thermostat is in emergency heat mode, which requires a reset.

It’s recommended to have a heating and cooling professional recommend a thermostat and expertly install it. That way, you’ll stay away from any compatibility or wiring issues.

Estimated Repair Costs

The cost of professional thermostat installation depends greatly on what type of thermostat you want. While programmable thermostats are cheaper, they lack the sophisticated features and convenience of a smart thermostat.

6. Heat Pump Won’t Heat

A heat pump that won’t heat is connected to similar problems with a heat pump that won’t cool. We recommend checking for:

  • Appropriate thermostat settings
  • Tripped circuit breakers
  • A dirty air filter
  • Ice on your heat pump

An icy heat pump or leaky ductwork will require the help of an HVAC technician. Ductwork is difficult to reach since it’s located behind walls and multiple issues can cause your heat pump to ice over.

Estimated Repair Costs

These repair costs are estimates. Your total cost may vary based on your heat pump brand, model and the extent of the issue.

  • Replace reversing valve: $200–$600
  • Replace outdoor fan motor: $250–$650
  • Repair refrigerant leak: Depends on the kind of refrigerant your heat pump uses. R-22 Freon is more expensive since it’s no longer being produced.
  • Seal leaky ductwork: Depends on house size.

Fix Your Heat Pump Problems Quickly and Affordably with Our Help

Dealing with a malfunctioning heat pump can be irritating, but not when you call Allstar Heating & Air Conditioning. Our professionals have been supplying the quality, affordable heat pump repair Buellton homeowners have depended on since . Contact us at 805-242-9638 to get your free estimate now.

Average repair costs are sourced from Fixr, which compiles estimates based on nationwide averages.