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Kool Breeze of Northwest Florida, Inc Blog

Why Won’t My Heat Pump Switch to Cooling Mode?


When it comes to choosing the right home comfort system for a home, many Navarre area residents go with a heat pump system. These units are perfect for climates with hot summers and mild winters… so perfect for our climate! 

While rare, it does get cool enough on occasions to put our heat pumps in heating mode. But what happens when the weather warms up again and you can’t get your system to switch over to cooling mode?

When dealing with a faulty system, it’s always a good idea to call an HVAC professional. Repairs and regular maintenance are vital services for any heating pump. If you’re having trouble switching to cooling mode, a technician will likely address one of the following problems.

Faulty Thermostat

A heat pump needs a thermostat to make accurate readings and calculations when running. A faulty thermostat can cause an issue either through miscalibration or disconnection.

A miscalibrated thermostat will give the heat pump inaccurate readings that impact its ability to cool or heat your home. Frayed or loose wires can cut the connection to the heat pump altogether. When this happens, the pump won’t register any setting changes, even if everything else is working perfectly. 

Broken Reversing Valve

The beauty of a heat pump is that it does the work of two units in one. You get the warmth of a furnace and the coolness of an air conditioner, and a way to easily switch between them. We have the reversing valve to thank for that.

When refrigerant exits the compressor, it has to flow in one of two directions. A pump provides warmth by pulling outdoor heat inside via heat transfer. When in cooling mode, it uses a backflow to remove indoor heat.

As a mechanical part, the reversing valve can experience wear and tear over time. A damaged valve may not shut down your heat pump, but it will leave it stuck in heating or cooling mode.

Refrigerant Leak

Refrigerant is a chemical compound that flows through a heat pump. Almost every AC system uses it for heat transfer.

A common misconception is that refrigerant gets used as fuel, so it can run out. In truth, HVAC units only need to be filled once prior to installation. It won’t deplete in a closed system because heat pumps are designed to run at specific refrigerant charges.

A leak is the only way to lose refrigerant, but it’s a common one. Poorly-fitted joints, loose connections, and corrosion tend to be the main culprits. Signs of a refrigerant leak include:

  • Bubbling or hissing noises
  • Ice forming over the coils
  • Lukewarm air on cooling mode

A leak causes a pressure drop, which lowers the refrigerant’s charge. This will limit the unit’s capacity for heat transfer. If left too long, the extra strain can overheat the compressor and burn out its motor.

If you suspect your heat pump has a leak, call our team immediately.

For heat pump services in Navarre, please contact Kool Breeze of Northwest Florida, Inc.

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