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Serving The Greater Fresno Area Since 1970

Serving The Greater Fresno Area Since 1970


Donald P. Dick Air Conditioning Blog

Tripped Circuits and Heat Pump Malfunctions


Heat pumps are fantastic in general, but it’s this time of year when you’re reaping the greatest benefits. They don’t generate heat (which takes a lot of energy) but simply transfer it from one place to another (which takes a lot less energy). So it’s during the heating season when you’ll see the greatest savings from your heat pump. 

But that also means it’s extra frustrating if you’re having heat pump problems this time of year! You might end up heating with a backup system if your heat pump isn’t working, and that uses much more energy. If you’re dealing with tripped circuits or other heat pump malfunctions this winter, we’ve got some useful information for you.

Tripped Circuits

If a circuit breaker gets tripped once, it may be nothing to worry about. But if it happens repeatedly to the circuit your heat pump is on, take this warning seriously. It’s tripping to shut the power and prevent damage to the heat pump or an electrical fire! Before you decide you need heating repair in Hanford, CA, there are a couple of things you can check yourself.

  • The Air Filter: This should be getting changed every month during seasons when the heat pump is working very regularly. If you haven’t changed it in over a month, or there’s some reason why it might get dusty faster, such as heavily-shedding pets or nearby construction, change it now. A clogged filter reduces airflow, forcing the compressor to work harder, potentially drawing enough power to trip the breaker.
  • The Outdoor Unit: It’s also important to keep the outdoor unit of your heat pump clear of anything that could obstruct airflow. This could be plants crowding too close, dead plant matter or other litter piling up, or dust and dirt caked onto the coils themselves. Clear space around the unit and give it a wash with a hose—no high-pressure nozzle, just gentle water.

If you’ve done those things and the circuit breaker keeps tripping, it’s time for a technician to take a look. The heat pump could be drawing too much power because of a problem with the compressor or the motor. Or it could be a wiring issue with the heat pump, or with the electrical panel itself. Your repair technician can track down the true culprit and get you back to heating efficiently.

Other Heat Pump Malfunctions

Whatever the issue with your heat pump, it’s important that you have it addressed promptly so you won’t put any extra strain on your compressor, the most expensive and critical component. If any of these things are happening, get repairs right away.

  • Odd Noises: Hissing, bubbling, rattling, banging, and more… any time your heat pump makes a noise that’s out of the ordinary, it’s a warning sign.
  • Strange Smells: A hot or burning smell, a sweet chemical smell, a sour vinegar smell… these all indicate heat pump problems.
  • Power Problems: If your heat pump won’t turn on, won’t turn off, or won’t switch between heating and cooling, after checking the circuit breaker, it’s time for repairs.
  • Ineffectiveness: A decline in your heat pump’s ability to keep your home at the ideal temperature means it needs repair.
  • Inefficiency: A sharp increase in your electric bill may indicate that the heat pump is struggling and is using more power than it should need to.

Whatever the problem with your heat pump, don’t delay in getting it fixed so you can go back to enjoying high-efficiency heating and a comfortable home.

We strive to provide honest answers and solutions to the problems our customers’ experience while remaining highly competitive in price, and offer the fastest turnaround you can find! Contact Donald P. Dick Air Conditioning to schedule service or sign up for Mr. Cool’s Super Saver Program.

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