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Is Your Heat Pump Blowing Cold Air? What You Should Know

A heat pump is an energy-efficient alternative to a traditional furnace. Some of them, in fact, are up to three times more efficient than a typical furnace. They will convert more of their consumed energy into heat. The end result is lower heating costs for you and your family. If your heat pump is blowing cold air, though, you’ll need to troubleshoot it.

Wrong Thermostat Setting

Something as simple as the wrong thermostat setting may cause your heat pump to blow cold air. Heat pumps are complete heating, ventilation and cooling (HVAC) systems. They can cool your home during the summer and warm your home during the winter. And you can control them at the thermostat. 

If your thermostat is set to COOL, your heat pump will blow cold air. It will act like an air conditioning system by transferring heat from inside your home to outside your home. Switching your thermostat to HEAT, conversely, will make it blow warm air. Your heat pump will only blow warm air if the thermostat is set to HEAT.

Reversing Valve Failure

Your heat pump may blow cold air if the reversing valve has failed. Reversing valves are designed to change or reverse the flow of refrigerant. Like air conditioning systems, heat pumps contain refrigerant. They use refrigerant to transfer heat.

The direction in which the refrigerant travels will determine whether your heat pump produces cold or warm air. The reversing valve works in conjunction with the thermostat to change the direction of the refrigerant. When you set the thermostat to HEAT, the reversing valve will force refrigerant to travel from the outdoor coil to the indoor coil. If the reversing valve has failed, though, your heat pump may remain stuck in cooling mode – even if you set the thermostat to HEAT.

Defrost Mode

During defrost mode, your heat pump won’t blow warm air; it will typically blow cold air. Most heat pumps have a defrost mode. When the temperature drops below freezing, ice may form on your heat pump. Your heat pump will automatically enter defrost mode to melt this ice.

Defrost mode works like an air conditioning system. Air conditioning systems transfer heat from inside of homes to the outside of homes. Heat pumps leverage this same process to melt ice. Once in defrost mode, your heat pump will transfer heat to the outdoor coil. You’ll typically feel cold air coming out of the vents until it has completed the defrost cycle.