How Come My Heat Pump Runs Constantly in Cold Weather?

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During the cold months, many homeowners throughout Champaign, IL and the surrounding areas rely on heat pumps to keep their homes comfortable and warm. Occasionally, though, your heat pump may experience a problem. One of the most common is when a heat pump runs constantly in cold weather. The pros at Edelman, Inc. explain why this happens and what you need to do to fix it.

Why Is My Heat Pump Running Constantly in Cold Weather?

When a heat pump runs constantly in cold weather, there could be a few different issues causing this problem. If your heat pump system runs constantly in cold weather, it may be entirely normal – or, it could indicate there is something wrong with your system. Troubleshooting may be able to solve the issue before calling for professional repairs.

1. It’s Extremely Cold Outside

If your heat pump runs constantly in cold weather where the outdoor air temperature is about 35 degrees or below, you don’t have anything to worry about yet. Heat pumps heat homes by extracting heat energy from the air outside and transferring it to the air inside the home. When it is extremely cold outside, there is less heat in the outdoor air. Your heat pump has to work longer to pull enough heat from the outdoor air to heat your home, and it may run nearly non-stop to do so. 

While there could be other issues making your heat pump system run continuously, the non-stop operation may just be a result of the current outdoor conditions. Once the outdoor air temperature warms up above 35 degrees or so, your heat pump should run less often – if it doesn’t, it’s time to look for other issues. Most homeowners pair a gas furnace with their heat pump so it can take over when temperatures dip below 35 degrees.

2. Heat Pump Is Clogged

For your heat pump to function properly, it needs to receive enough airflow through the system. Air must be able to flow through the outdoor unit so the condenser coil can extract heat, and air must be able to pass through the system’s filter in order for the heat pump to produce enough warm air for your home. When a heat pump is running constantly in cold weather, a clogged air filter or a clogged outdoor unit may be to blame.

  • Clear the area around your outdoor unit – you want to leave at least two feet of open space surrounding your heat pump on all sides. Remove leaves, grass, weeds, and other outdoor debris stuck along the exterior of the unit. After heavy winds or snowfall, clear away snow drifts that have piled up against the heat pump.
  • If your heat pump runs constantly in cold temperatures, one of the easiest things to check is your air filter. Remove the existing filter, and examine it to see if you’re due for a replacement. If the filter is completely covered in matter, replace it with a new filter. Be sure to change the filter on a regular basis, and beware that you may need to change it more frequently during cold weather when your system sees more use.

3. Thermostat Problems

When a heat pump runs constantly in cold weather, thermostat problems could be the cause. If the thermostat is malfunctioning, it may not read when indoor air temperatures reach your desired setting – therefore it won’t instruct your heat pump to shut off. 

  • Replace the thermostat’s batteries as low power can cause miscommunication between the thermostat and the heating system. If the thermostat is hardwired, make sure the circuit breaker to the thermostat has not tripped which could interrupt communication. Reset the breaker if needed. 
  • Make sure all wiring connections in the thermostat are snug. Carefully remove the faceplate and check to see that all wires are tightly secured in their terminals. Tighten connections if necessary.
  • Clean the thermostat using a soft brush or compressed air. Dirt and dust buildup can block sensors, causing the thermostat to misread temperatures.
  • Check the thermostat’s calibration using a standard thermometer. Mount the thermometer near your thermostat and wait 15 minutes, then check the readings on both devices. If the thermostat’s temperature is more than a degree or two different from the reading on the thermometer, its calibration is off. This issue may be fixed through professional repairs or may indicate the thermostat needs to be replaced. 

Contact Edelman for Heat Pump Services in Champaign, IL

If your heat pump runs constantly in cold weather or you experience other heat pump performance problems this winter, don’t dismiss them! If heat pump troubleshooting doesn’t solve the issue, contact Edelman, Inc. today for heat pump repair services in Champaign, IL.


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