Average Repair Costs for 6 Common Heat Pump Problems

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 likely to experience some issues once in a while.

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 common 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 recommend checking all of them. Sometimes they are as easy as fixing a thermostat setting or replacing your air filter.

Here’s what to check:

  • Is your thermostat on the right setting? If you want cooling, 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 have a programmable thermostat, replace 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 clogged? A dirty air filter is problematic for your heat pump. If you can’t see light through it, it’s time to replace it.

If these steps don’t fix the problem, you’ll need to call a heating and cooling company like Hale's Air Conditioning Services Inc.

Estimated Repair Cost

This issue can be complex, 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 achieve your desired temperature.

If the weather is typical, 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 a few other issues that could be causing your heat pump to run all the time. They include:

  • A new thermostat that isn’t appropriate for your heat pump.
  • A malfunctioning compressor contactor, which regulates 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 complex it is.

3. Heat Pump Won’t Defrost

Every now and then during cold weather, your heat pump will temporarily go into cooling mode. This will melt light frost and ice that normally accumulates on the coils. A heat pump that becomes heavily iced over may struggle to heat your home or shut down altogether.

Here are a few reasons why this might be taking place:

  • 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 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 sounds. Or if you discover a sweet, formaldehyde-like odor close to the outdoor unit.

Estimated Repair Cost

Like we discussed 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 severity 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 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 linked 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 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 more expensive 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 use just about any thermostat with a furnace, the same isn’t accurate 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 running in your air handler, there’s probably a problem with the thermostat.

A couple other typical thermostat problems involve:

  • Wiring was done wrong.
  • 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 stay away from any compatibility or wiring issues.

Estimated Repair Costs

The cost of professional thermostat installation depends greatly on what kind of thermostat you want. While programmable thermostats are less expensive, they lack the advanced 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 clogged air filter
  • Ice on your heat pump

An icy heat pump or leaky ductwork will require the help of an HVAC technician. Ductwork is hard to reach since it’s located behind walls and multiple 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 level 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 runs on. R-22 Freon is more expensive since it’s no longer being produced.
  • Seal leaky ductwork: Depends on house size.

Resolve Your Heat Pump Problems Quickly and Affordably with Our Help

Dealing with a malfunctioning heat pump can be frustrating, but not when you call Hale's Air Conditioning Services Inc. Our pros have been delivering the quality, affordable heat pump repair Saint Petersburg homeowners have relied on since 1986. Contact us at 727-369-6195 to get your free estimate now.

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