Average Repair Costs for 6 Common Heat Pump Problems

December 02, 2021

Your heat pump is an essential part of your home because it provides year-round comfort. But, like any home comfort system, it’s bound to experience some problems every now and then.

Let’s review these issues and how much they might cost to fix, so you’ll have some idea before you call 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 plenty of reasons why your heat pump won’t turn on, so we suggest checking all of them. Sometimes they are as simple as correcting a thermostat setting or replacing your air filter.

Here’s what to check:

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

If these steps don’t fix the issue, you’ll need to contact a heating and cooling company like Breathe Healthier Air.

Estimated Repair Cost

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

2. Heat Pump Won’t Turn Off

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

If the weather is typical, check that your thermostat is set correctly 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 running all the time. Constantly using 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 a few 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 controls the flow of electricity.
  • Leaky ductwork.

Estimated Repair Cost

This can be linked to a lot of issues, so your heat pump repair cost will depend on the problem and how difficult it is.

3. Heat Pump Won’t Defrost

Occasionally during cold weather, your heat pump will temporarily go into cooling mode. This will melt light frost and ice that normally 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 leaking water on top of your heat pump, causing an icy buildup.
  • A part is not working, 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 sounds. Or if you notice a sweet, formaldehyde-like odor close to the outdoor unit.

Estimated Repair Cost

Like we mentioned before, there are many reasons why your heat pump won’t defrost. But here are a few 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 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 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 problems. We recommend checking for:

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

If there’s nothing wrong 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 a problem 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 extent 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 produced.
  • 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 accurate for heat pumps, especially if you have backup or emergency heating.

You can test 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 a problem with the thermostat.

A couple other typical thermostat problems involve:

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

It’s recommended to have a heating and cooling pro recommend a thermostat and expertly install it. That way, you’ll avoid any compatibility or wiring problems.

Estimated Repair Costs

The cost of professional thermostat installation depends considerably on what type of thermostat you want. While programmable thermostats are less expensive, they are missing the sophisticated features and convenience of a smart thermostat.

6. Heat Pump Won’t Heat

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

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

An icy heat pump or leaky ductwork will require the assistance of an HVAC technician. Ductwork is hard to reach since it’s placed behind walls and numerous issues can cause your heat pump to freeze up.

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 problem.

  • Replace reversing valve: $200–$600
  • Replace outdoor fan motor: $250–$650
  • Repair refrigerant leak: Depends on the kind of refrigerant your heat pump runs on. R-22 Freon is more expensive since it’s no longer being made.
  • 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 Breathe Healthier Air. Our pros have been delivering the quality, affordable heat pump repair Stuart homeowners have relied on since 2007. Contact us at 772-353-4633 to get your free estimate now.

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