It’s Summer, but My Heat Pump Thinks It’s Winter!


Let’s say it’s a hot day here in East Tennessee. And it probably is, because I’m writing this in August, and I’m sweating through my paws, which makes it hard to handle the keys. Anyway, the temperatures outdoors are high and the air is humid, and all you want to do is retreat back to your home and set the thermostat to turn the heater on …

Wait, no, that’s not right. Why would you turn the heater on?

Unfortunately, you may find this is out of your control because you have a heat pump that has developed its own ideas about the time of the year. Instead of moving heat out of the house the way it should during summer, it’s moving heat inside as if it were winter. You’ve got a heat pump that’s trapped in heating mode—and that’s no fun for anybody. Especially not your dogs, who have to pant hard to overcome double heat.

What’s causing the heat pump to act like this, Olive?

There are several reasons for the “confused” heat pump. This is the type of malfunction you might expect to occasionally run into with a device that can operate as both a cooling system and a heating system. If certain parts fail, the heat pump can get stuck in one mode or the other.

First, check over the thermostat settings. It is possible that you made an error with the thermostat and put the heat pump into heating mode. Or, somebody else played with the buttons. (I’m not saying who, that’s not my business!) Consult the manual for the thermostat if you feel uncertain about the settings, especially if this is a newer heat pump.

Also, if the air from the heat pump isn’t “hot” but more room temperature, I recommend checking on the air filter. If it’s clogged, that might be the problem.

Okay, now the big reason you may have a heat pump that’s doing the wrong job is because of something called the reversing valve. This is the component of a heat pump that helps make it a heat pump, rather than a standard air conditioner. It’s not the only difference, but it’s the big one. This valve determines which way the refrigerant exiting from the compressor travels: go one direction, cooling mode; go the other, heating mode. If the valve becomes stuck, the heat pump will also become stuck in a single mode. Fortunately, this is simple for our team to fix with heat pump repair in Maryville, TN. Usually, we only need to replace the old valve with a new one.

Another possibility is with the thermostat’s wiring. A loss of connection to the reversing valve means that nothing you do with the thermostat will signal the heat pump to change out of heating mode. The thermostat may also have temperature-sensing problems and think your house is cold rather than hot. These are all issues that take professionals to fix—please don’t try to tear the thermostat cover off and tinker with it.

Heat pumps are great ways to provide year-round comfort—and with the help of our team, we’ll see your heat pumps always work for you, not against you!

Stay cool,


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