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Why is My Heat Pump Constantly Running?

Understand the Potential Issues—and How to Best Solve Them

heat pump repair massachusettsDo you have a heat pump in your Eastern Massachusetts home? Perhaps it came with your current residence, or you’ve recently installed one. In any case, if you’ve previously used a furnace or boiler before a heat pump, you might think that heat pumps will run the same way. So, if you see the heat pump running constantly, you will immediately worry and ask yourself: Why is my heat pump not shutting off? Is there some sort of problem with it?

In many cases, there’s no need to worry. They often need to be constantly running to keep your home at your desired temperature—especially in the middle of a cold winter season. In fact, while heat pumps are great for cooling your home, they can sometimes outright struggle with home heating here in New England. That’s because the lower the temperature goes, the harder they need to work to keep your home warm.

Once the temperature reaches 32˚F or lower, heat pumps need help to heat your home. Many homes that converted to electric heat pumps for heating either rely on the electric resistance heating element—which can send electricity bills through the roof—or have even kept their old furnace or boiler for backup heating.

While it may be perfectly normal for your heat pump to run constantly, you may want to be cognizant to other potential issues that may be at-hand. We’ll detail some of those here:

Improper Unit Sizing

In numerous instances, we see that there is a discrepancy in the size of the heat pump unit in relation to the residence it’s installed at. Why does this matter?

If the unit is undersized, it may wear down faster because it is forced to run for a longer time with more power, making it hard to reach the demand for that room or a house. On the other hand, if the unit is too large or oversized, while it does heat up or cool down a room faster, it will consume more electricity than it should, because it will frequently switch on and off depending on the room’s temperature and thus, will require more energy.

Poor Insulation

If your heat pump is running constantly in the winter with very low temperatures—as we’ve stated earlier—this can be quite typical. But it should shut off, even if just briefly, when you’ve reached your desired thermostat temperature. If it doesn’t, the room might be leaking air out and prompting the heat pump to keep running to (try) and maintain that set temperature. In this case, you may want to work on the home’s insulation by sealing up any cracks or leaks. This can be done remedied in various rooms of the home with fixes like caulk, weatherstripping, or replacing aged insulation altogether.

Faulty Thermostats

Though not as common, if your thermostat is reading the temperatures incorrectly, it can cause your heat pump to continue cycling. To troubleshoot this:

  • Check the correlated circuit breakers switches or replace the batteries if needed.
  • Make sure that the thermostat interface operates normally as it should.
  • Pull the cover off the thermostat to reveal the inner workings and check the wire connections. Look carefully at each wire to ensure its secure and not corroded or disconnected.
  • Consider the location of the thermostat itself. If it’s near a space heater or another item that generates heat, the thermostat could experience inaccurate readings. Consider having a professional relocate the thermostat if it’s in a bad location.

Dirty Air Filters

Clean units run more efficiently than dirty ones—that’s a fact! HVAC units typically break down because dirt and other debris clog the air filters and coils and restrict the airflow. The clogs cause the unit to overheat and, consequently, work harder to warm the house. While the air flows through the coil with the limited capacity, it lessens the unit’s efficiency.

The experienced technicians at Frank Lamparelli are experts at installing and servicing a comprehensive line of heating and air conditioning products. Our team can install your new system safely, and help you maintain and repair any system you have for years of extended, affordable use. Contact us today for a FREE estimate!