Average Repair Costs for 6 Typical Heat Pump Issues

December 02, 2021

Your heat pump is an important part of your home because it provides year-round comfort. But, like any home comfort system, it’s bound to experience some problems every now and then.

Let’s review these problems and how much they might cost to fix, so you’ll have some idea before you contact 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 changing 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 ambient temperature. If you want heat, it should be set to “heat,” “auto” and your setting should greater than the current temperature. If you use a programmable thermostat, put in new the batteries if the screen appears jumbled or blank.
  • Has the circuit breaker been tripped? Your heat pump won’t be able to turn on if it lacks power. Reset the corresponding breaker if it’s facing the outside of the electrical panel.
  • Is the air filter dirty? A dirty air filter is troublesome 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 issue, you’ll need to call a heating and cooling company like Ambient Air.

Estimated Repair Cost

This problem can be complex, so how much it costs to fix it will depend on what’s wrong.

2. Heat Pump Won’t Turn Off

If it’s very 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 sound like your heat pump is running all the time. Constantly running the blower can keep humidity levels under control, but it’ll also increase your electrical bills.

If your thermostat is set correctly, there are several 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 many issues, so your heat pump repair cost will depend on the problem and how difficult it is.

3. Heat Pump Won’t Defrost

Occasionally during cold weather, your heat pump will briefly go into cooling mode. This will dissolve light frost and ice that naturally builds up on the coils. A heat pump that becomes heavily iced over may have difficulty heating your home or shut down completely.

Here are several reasons why this might be taking place:

  • Your heat pump doesn’t have enough airflow because it’s blocked by snow, bushes or yard waste.
  • Your gutters are dripping water on top of your heat pump, creating an icy buildup.
  • A part is not working, 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 noises. Or if you discover a sweet, formaldehyde-like odor near the outdoor unit.

Estimated Repair Cost

Like we mentioned before, there are many reasons why your heat pump won’t defrost. But here are several 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 more expensive since it’s no longer being manufactured.

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 problems. We suggest checking for:

  • Right thermostat settings
  • Tripped circuit breakers
  • A dirty 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 a problem 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 severity of the issue.

  • 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 produced.
  • 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 test 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 common thermostat problems include:

  • Wiring was done wrong.
  • Thermostat isn’t communicating 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 avoid any compatibility or wiring problems.

Estimated Repair Costs

The cost of professional thermostat installation depends greatly on what kind of thermostat you want. While programmable thermostats are cheaper, they lack the sophisticated features and convenience of a smart thermostat.

6. Heat Pump Won’t Heat

A heat pump that won’t heat is linked to similar problems with a heat pump that won’t cool. We recommend checking for:

  • Correct thermostat settings
  • Tripped circuit breakers
  • A dirty air filter
  • Ice on your heat pump

An icy heat pump or leaky ductwork will require the help of an HVAC technician. Ductwork is difficult to reach since it’s located behind walls and numerous issues can cause your heat pump to ice over.

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 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.
  • Seal leaky ductwork: Depends on house size.

Fix Your Heat Pump Problems Quickly and Affordably with Our Help

Dealing with a malfunctioning heat pump can be frustrating, but not when you call Ambient Air. Our pros have been delivering the quality, affordable heat pump repair Tucson homeowners have depended on since 2001. Call us at 520-201-3871 to request your free estimate now.

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