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Jonas Energy Solutions Blog

Why Can’t My Heat Pump Switch Modes?


Heat pumps work as both heating and air conditioning systems, and that makes them great in California weather where we often need to switch between heating and cooling right in the middle of seasons. What’s not great is when a heat pump won’t switch modes, whether to go from cooling to heating or heating to cooling. If you find you have an obstinate heat pump, you’ll want answers. What’s going on, and what can be done to fix it?

We’re going to address some reasons why you can’t reverse your heat pump in Ukiah, CA from whatever mode it’s currently in. You can trust our team to sort out the problem and fix your heat pump.

Broken Reversing Valve

This is one of the most common reasons for having a heat pump trapped in a single mode. The reversing valve is one of the key components that separates a heat pump from a standard air conditioner. This valve can control the direction refrigerant rotates through the system, and this is what causes the heat pump to change between heating and cooling modes. The valve directs refrigerant exiting the compressor to move either to the indoor coil or the outdoor coil first, which is the difference between heating mode and cooling mode.

This valve can break, however. The shifting of the reversing valve is achieved using an electromagnetic or solenoid mechanism. When energized, the solenoid changes the position of the valve. If the valve won’t energize, it will stay in whatever the non-energized (“default”) position. The valve may be physically stuck or have a problem with the solenoid. In most cases, technicians will need to replace the valve to fix the problem. 

Failed Thermostat Connection

The thermostat sends the signal to energize the reversing valve or to de-energize it. If the thermostat loses this connection, it won’t respond to any instructions to change the heat pump’s mode. Note that this is only one connection the thermostat has: other thermostat functions will still work, such as turning the fan on and off and controlling the temperature of whatever mode the heat pump is still in, so it’s easy to think the thermostat is working correctly. Technicians are necessary to determine if the fault is in the thermostat.

Control Board Malfunction

The heat pump’s control board is responsible for coordinating the functions of various components. If the control board has an electrical malfunction, it may not send the correct signals to the reversing valve or other components, resulting in mode-switching issues.

Sensor Problems

Temperature sensors in both the thermostat and the heat pump play a part in changing the heat pump’s mode. If these sensors are faulty or are misreading temperatures, they can affect the system’s ability to determine when to switch between heating and cooling modes.

Aging Heat Pump

Is your heat pump more than 15 years old? If so, this failure to change modes may come from any of the previous problems combined with severe wear and tear. You can pay to have repairs done, but with a system this old, it’s better to save paying for a repair for a system that will fail in a year or two and instead invest in a replacement heat pump.

Contact us today for quality heat pump repairs and more. Jonas Energy Solutions: Become a Part of the Solution! 

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