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Heat Pump Not Switching to Cooling Mode? Here’s How to Fix That


There are a variety of benefits to having a heat pump. For one thing, they’re very energy-efficient, which is a benefit to both the environment and your wallet.

They can also be much quieter than traditional central AC units. But the thing that truly sets heat pumps apart is their ability to switch between heating your home and cooling it, simply reversing the flow of refrigerant to either carry heat into your home or carry it out. 

If your heat pump was set to keep your home cozy during the winter, you’ve had to switch it back to cooling mode by this time of year. But what if you tried and it wouldn’t work? What if your heat pump just won’t cool your home, and is stuck in heating mode? This can happen on occasion and we can explain it to you.

How Heat Pumps Switch Between Modes

Inside your heat pump, there’s a critical component called the reversing valve. It looks a bit like a brass instrument, with metal tubing sticking out in various directions. Inside the central tube is a part that slides, covering one or another of the other openings. The position it’s in is caused by pressure, and that is delivered by a solenoid, a specific type of electromagnet.

When the solenoid is de-energized, the pressure allows the refrigerant to flow through the openings in the direction that causes heating. When it’s energized, via an electrical connection to the thermostat, the pressure moves the slider, and with different routes open, the refrigerant reverses so it can cool your home. 

How Reversing Valves Get Stuck

The most common scenario that leads to this problem is simply a bad solenoid. If your heat pump was set to heat your home for the winter, it was de-energized for many months. If it’s failing to switch into cooling mode, it’s failing to energize.

If the reversing valve’s solenoid is no longer functional, there’s no need to worry. We did say that the reversing valve is the most critical component for making sure the heat pump delivers on the promise of both heating and cooling. But what we didn’t mention is that it’s not one of the most expensive components of the heat pump, and replacing it is in fact usually more cost-effective than repairing it. 

The other point where something could go wrong is the connection between the reversing valve and the thermostat. This is a matter of electrical wiring, and as you’ve probably seen with lamps or headphones, a loose connection in electrical wiring can cause signals to simply not be received.

If your thermostat determines that it’s time to energize the solenoid, but a broken or disconnected point in the wiring stops the message from getting through, you might have a perfectly functional reversing valve and just need a little electrical work. Whichever of these is causing your problem, you need heat pump repair in Navarre, FL.

Avoiding Future Problems

The best way to prevent repair needs is with regular maintenance. While you would only have your air conditioner or your furnace maintained once a year, a heat pump that is working year-round accumulates twice as much wear and tear. It needs twice as much maintenance to ensure that it operates efficiently and to catch problems while they’re still small, so be sure to schedule that for both spring and fall. 

For professional heat pump maintenance and repair, look no further than Kool Breeze of Northwest Florida, Inc.  Contact us today!

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