Heat pumps are well known for their ability to switch between heating and cooling modes. In fact, it’s the primary reason that most people install them in the first place. However, that ability also opens them up to a unique problem that other climate control systems don’t have: getting stuck in one mode. If you’re trying to stay cool this summer, and your heat pump is stuck in one mode, read on to find out why.
The Reversing Valve
The reason a heat pump can switch between heating and cooling modes is because of a part called the reversing valve. The reversing valve is a 4-way valve that sits in the refrigerant line of the system. A slide inside the valve moves between two positions, each of which sets a different direction for the refrigerant to flow through the system. The slide is controlled by a small electromagnet, called a solenoid, that moves it back and forth in the valve. This simple part is responsible for one of the advantages a heat pump has to offer. So, as you can imagine, it’s quite a problem when something goes wrong with that one part.
Issues with the Valve
If your heat pump is stuck in one mode, there are two possible issues with your reversing valve. First, it’s possible that the slide is stuck in the valve. If the slide can’t move, it can’t direct the flow of refrigerant and the system can’t switch modes. The valve will need to be opened, and the slide freed, before the system can be restored to normal function.
The other possibility is that the solenoid has lost its charge, which would prevent the system from moving the slide. If this is the case, the only thing you can really do is replace the solenoid.
Call Climate Masters for heat pump repair services in St. Augustine, FL.