Top Reasons Your Heat Pump Won’t Turn Off

image of a heat pump that wont turn off

More and more homes in temperate climates are using heat pumps. This is because they offer efficiency and versatility, among other selling points. Most problems can be kept at bay with regular maintenance. However, neglecting your HVAC equipment can result in comfort problems and efficiency issues, among other problems. A common problem many homeowners encounter is when their heat pump won’t turn off. Read on to learn some of the usual culprits behind this heat pump problem.

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Possible Reasons Why Your Heat Pump Won’t Shut Off

Here are several common reasons your heat pump won’t turn off:

Heat Pump Thermostat Setting

hand adjusting heat pump thermostat

Heat pumps slowly distribute the conditioned air to raise or lower the indoor temperature. They tend to operate for extended periods before shutting off when the thermostat setting has been achieved because they work slowly. Frigid outside temperatures may mean that the heat pump will have difficulty reaching its settings. They continuously run because the house never reaches the set temperature. Use an auxiliary heat source to help your heat pump.

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Thermostat Wiring Of Heat Pump

The thermostat controls how the heat pump operates. If it can’t send signals, the unit may continue running even after it reaches its goal temperature. Check for loose links and frayed wires. You can also call an experienced contractor to help you.

Thermostat Batteries

battery replacement for thermostat that controls heat pumpSome thermostats are battery-operated. These can lose their charge, so the thermostat will stop functioning. The thermostat cannot send a signal for the heat pump to turn off. Replace the thermostat batteries with fresh ones to set it right.

Heat Pump Blower Fan

At times, you might think that the heat pump is running when only the blower fan is in operation. The fan will keep running when the thermostat fan setting is set to “ON.” Change it to “AUTO” so the fan stops with the heat pump.

Blower Relay Switch On Heat Pump

A malfunctioning fan controller will result in it not behaving as expected. Replacing the blower fan relay can fix this problem. Hire an HVAC professional to help you.

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Heat Pump Is Auto-Switching To Maintain Temperature

Heat pumps can provide cold or hot air depending on the household’s needs. They can automatically switch between these modes. Constant auto-switching to maintain the set temperature can be why the heat pump runs continuously. Try changing the settings of your thermostat to see if it fixes the issue.

Emergency Heat Setting

The system may be finding it difficult to achieve the set temperature when it relies on the auxiliary source of heat instead of the primary heat pump. Check if the emergency heat setting is active. Contact an HVAC professional to inspect and repair the problem.


Why Your Heat Pump Runs Without Reaching Desired Temperature

Here are several of the common culprits your heat pump keeps running without reaching the thermostat setting:

Clogged Heat Pump Air Filter

hvac air filter replacement for a heat pump

Heat pumps can sometimes work all day without reaching the set temperature. The most common reason is a dirty air filter that keeps fresh air from circulating into the system. Manufacturers recommend that the filters be replaced every one to three months. The replacement frequency depends on the unique factors of each home. Therefore, check the air filter once a month and replace it as necessary.

Heat Set Too High During Cold Weather

The performance of a heat pump decreases in frigid environments. The system may work harder to maintain 80 degrees Fahrenheit inside if the temperature drops below 30 degrees outside. Setting the thermostat above 80 degrees will result in the heat pump running nonstop in a futile attempt to reach it.

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Heat Pump Set Too Low During Hot Weather

The same limitation holds true in scorching environments. Therefore, manage your expectations regarding your system’s performance at the height of summer by not setting the temperature too low.

Tripped Circuit Breakers

circuit breaker

Parts of the HVAC unit may not be operational if the circuit breakers tripped. The malfunction may keep happening unless a professional resolves the problem.

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Open Windows/Doors Or Poor Insulation

The heat pump may be wasting its energy if there are open doors and windows as the conditioned air escapes through them. Therefore, ensure they are closed and seal all gaps and cracks around them. Improve the insulation if it is lacking.

Refrigerant Leak

charging heat pump with refrigerant

Refrigerant leaks may be reducing the system’s ability to manage your home’s temperatures. Contact an HVAC technician to find and stop all refrigerant leaks and recharge it to the right level.

Damaged Compressor Contactor

It is normal for this component to succumb to wear and tear eventually. Contact an HVAC technician to inspect and repair it.

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Faulty Condensate Pump

Heat pumps produce water via condensation when in heat pump cooling mode. A condensate pump helps drain it from the system. If it isn’t doing its job, it might have been turned off, or the component isn’t working properly.

Failed Defrost Cycle

frozen evaporator coil of heat pump

Ice can form on external coils because of cold outside air. Heat pumps deal with this through a standard defrost cycle. Defrosting doesn’t work if there’s a large ice accumulation on your coils. Try resetting the system to fix it. If that doesn’t work, call an HVAC technician.

Stuck In Cooling Mode

The heat pump’s reversing valves allow it to have its dual nature. If these components get stuck, the system will run continuously without reaching the goal temperature. Contact a professional HVAC tech to assist you.

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Undersized Heat Pump Or Ductwork

The heat pump system may be too small for the job. As a result, it will not cool down your large home or office. Check the specifications and consult your local, trusted HVAC technician about replacements.

What To Do If Your Heat Pump Won’t Shut Off

image of checklist depicting what to do when heat pump wont turn off

Here are some steps you can take when your heat pump doesn’t turn off:

Check The Heat Pump Controls: Homeowners can perform a few tasks to investigate the issue and potentially restore your heat pump to normalcy. This includes checking the controls. Make sure that it has the correct settings. Enter a reasonable goal temperature and set the fan to AUTO. Select the correct mode per the environmental conditions.

Inspect The Outdoor Heat Pump Unit: Check the outdoor unit if there are dirt or ice accumulations. This can mean that the defrost cycle has failed.

Examine The Evaporator Coils: Inspect the coils as they may be overrun with rust or grime. These point to system inefficiency and a refrigerant leak.

Call A Professional HVAC Technician: If you did all you could, but the issue persists, call a professional right away. They can conduct advanced troubleshooting and complex repairs on your system components.

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How To Avoid Heat Pump Problems

Here are two steps you can do to prevent heat pump issues:

  • Replace Air Filters: Diligently conducting basic maintenance tasks helps homeowners reduce the risk that comes with heat pump problems. These tasks include cleaning the indoor and outdoor units and their surroundings. They should also replace the air filters regularly per the manufacturer’s recommendations.
  • Schedule Heat Pump Maintenance: Homeowners should also book annual maintenance by a professional HVAC technician to ensure a thorough check and cleaning. A professional will ensure that there are no faulty components, leaks, or wiring issues and keep problems at bay. Since a heat pump is used for both heating and cooling, this should be done twice a year.

Heat Pump FAQs

image of faq depicting heat pump faqs

Some of the common frequently asked questions about heat pumps include:

How Many Hours A Day Should A Heat Pump Run?

Heat pumps should run for 15 minutes or more after reaching the set temperature if they work as they should. If it frequently turns on and off, there could be dirty filters, power supply issues, incorrect thermostat settings, and other problems.

Do Heat Pumps Really Save Money?

Yes, heat pumps can help lower your home’s utility costs. They are energy-efficient, so they don’t consume as much power as other HVAC systems. Studies show that heat pumps can utilize 57% to 81% less energy than traditional HVAC equipment.

What Does A Yellow Light Mean For My Heat Pump?

A thermostat that’s flashing a yellow light means that you have a malfunctioning heat pump. The problem can be caused by the capacitor, overload protection device, or a transformer.

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Can You Paint A Heat Pump?

Yes, you can. However, it is not recommended as it can impact its performance.

Do I Need Professional Heat Pump Maintenance?

Homeowners can do some basic maintenance tasks. However, advanced tasks are best left in the hands of professionals as these need higher skill and knowledge levels to complete.



Ensure that you change the filters and schedule regular heat pump maintenance. If you notice anything unusual like continuous operation, conduct the basic troubleshooting listed above. Contact a professional when you need help. Licensed HVAC technicians can resolve any system issue for you. It is also recommended that your system receives professional maintenance annually to ensure better efficiency, reliability, and longevity.

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Lawes Company offers high-quality HVAC services in Monmouth and Ocean Counties, New Jersey. We only hire the best professionally certified technicians who can perform superior heating and cooling maintenance, installations, repairs, and replacements. All of our friendly techs are knowledgeable, skilled, and experienced in servicing any HVAC system promptly and correctly.

Our company provides highly competitive heating and cooling service prices in the area. We can increase your energy efficiency, indoor air quality, and home comfort while reducing your energy costs through our tune-up services. When you need to repair or replace your HVAC system, we can recommend the most suitable one within your budget. Your satisfaction is our priority, and that is why all our work comes with a guarantee. Book a service appointment with Lawes Company today. Call us for a free, in-home estimate.

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