Why Is My Heat Pump Blowing Hot Air In Cool Mode?

a homeowner feeling hot and sticky due to a heat pump blowing hot air in cool mode

Without a doubt, heat pumps are highly versatile equipment. They’re able to provide comfort year-round given that they’re designed to provide both heating and cooling in homes according to the preferences of residents. If it’s too cold inside during the winter, then you can warm your house up with a heat pump. If the summer months cause the building interior to become too hot, you’re able to use the very same equipment to cool your living space down. It’s easy to toggle between modes of operation and to alter temperature settings. However, some homeowners discover that their heat pump blowing hot air in cool mode. Let’s take a look at some of the possible reasons why.

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Why Your Heat Pump Is Blowing Out Hot Air While in Cool Mode

Even though heat pumps boast an impressive level of durability, they do have finite lifespans and they certainly aren’t invincible. When a heat pump blows out warm air during a cooling cycle, this is a common issue and a sign of malfunction. With this in mind, it’s important to familiarize yourself with all of the most common problems that heat pumps can develop. Taking the time to learn more about the various reasons why this heat pump issue occurs will give you the ability to proactively prevent it in the future. This will additionally allow you to try some simply heat pump troubleshooting strategies on your own, before turning to an expert for more advanced interventions and repairs. Following are seven things that you’ll want to check whenever this particular problem rears its head:

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1. The Reversing Valve in Your Heat Pump Is Broken

heat pump refrigeration cycleThe key to any heat pump’s overall versatility is its reversing valve. Depending upon how you set your heat pump, it will collect warm inside air and then deposit it outdoors or gather hot air from outside and push it into the building interior. The flow of refrigerant is directed by this valve so that heating and cooling goals can be achieved. When the reversing valve on a heat pump is broken, it isn’t able to perform as it should. The most common solution to this problem is replacing the reversing valve and then adding more refrigerant. This is a complex job indeed and it requires the skills and expertise of a professional HVAC technician.

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2. There’s a Problem With Your Heat Pump’s Thermostat

homeowner adjusting thermostat

More often than not, heat pumps develop this problem as the result of an incorrectly programmed thermostat. It may be that the heat pump has been set to run with only the fan, in which case, it will blow hot air around your home. You should check the thermostat settings on your heat pump to verify that it’s actually in cool mode. If it isn’t, change the settings as needed. Someone might have toggled the setting away from cool mode on accident. There’s also the possibility that the thermostat has a low battery so be sure to put fresh ones in to see if this fixes the issue. You can additionally check to ensure that the circuit breakers haven’t been tripped.

If the problem continues, the thermostat might be defective. There’s nothing you can do but replace the defective unit with a brand new one. Older, manual thermostats are often due for replacements anyway, so this is really just a good opportunity to get the job done. You can purchase a simple programmable thermostat at a very reasonable cost. However, if you’re willing to spend a bit more, you can get a more advanced programmable thermostat with a range of amazing features, functions, and capabilities.

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3. Your Heat Pump Has Lost Refrigerant

Heat pumps, unlike furnaces, don’t generate heat on their own. Instead, they absorb heat with refrigerant from one area and then move it to another. If there isn’t sufficient refrigerant moving across this system, it won’t be able to accomplish its task. You might have the right setting at the thermostat and the reversing valve could be just fine, but your heat pump will continue to blow out hot air while it’s in cool mode. Insufficient refrigerant is often the result of a leak. A professional HVAC technician can repair the leak and add new refrigerant right away.

4. Your Heat Pump Has a Clogged Air Filter

image of dirty ductless mini-split filters

Air filters are designed to capture and retain dirt, dust, and other debris. These particulates settle on the surface of the filter and air passes through. However, this layer of dirt can become so thick that the passage of air becomes restricted and then eventually, outright blocked. This is a problem that can be easily solved by cleaning your air filter to eliminate the build-up. It’s even better to simply replace a clogged air filter with a brand new one for a truly fresh start. Read through your owner’s manual to find out how often your heat pump’s air filter needs to be replaced or cleaned. Keep in mind that environmental conditions and other factors around your home could make it necessary to change the air filter more often than your owner’s manual suggests.

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5. Your Heat Pump Has Duct Leaks

image of technician inspecting hvac ductwork

Air ducts can degrade over time due to normal wear and tear. If your ducts are getting along in years, they could be leaking conditioned air. This will prevent your heat pump from distributing hot or cold air efficiently. You might have several rooms throughout your home that feel cold and others that are much warmer. Contact an HVAC company to help you resolve this problem. Taking care of this situation will improve air distribution overall. However, it will additionally reduce energy use and allow for lower utility bills. To enjoy lasting savings and improve home comfort, schedule ductwork repairs as soon as possible.

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6. The Heat Pump Coil Is Dirty

image of a dirty heat pump coil

Given its location, the outdoor component of your heat pump is subjected to a lot of dirt and debris. You have to think about just how dusty the environment is. You also have to account for things like pet hair, dried leaves and other organic materials, lawn clippings, and so forth. An accumulated layer of dirt will prevent your heat pump from expelling or absorbing heat through its cools. This is why it’s important clean heat pump coils on a regular basis. You can use a water hose at a low or medium pressure setting to flush away loose debris. If you set the water pressure to high, you could damage the unit, so be sure to check the pressure settings before completing this task. If there are stubborn spots, you can scrub these away with a soft brush.

Your heat pump’s indoor coils should also be cleaned. You may have a harder time accessing these coils, so consider putting this job in the hands of a licensed HVAC expert. Scheduling tune-up service for your heat pump is both affordable and guaranteed to provide worthwhile returns.

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7. The Indoor Coil on Your Heat Pump Is Frosted Over

Finally, you also have to consider the possibility that your heat pump troubles are the result of an indoor coil that’s frosted over. This might seem a bit counter-intuitive for a frosty coil to cause your heat pump to blow out hot air while it’s in cool mode. However, it actually makes a whole lot of sense when you know how heat pumps function. Freezing coils occur when the moisture starts to condense around the coils indoors due to low temperatures. Icing prevents coils from collecting heat and this causes heat pumps to stop functioning as they should. Your heat pump will be down before you can turn fan mode on. This will then force hot air through the coils to defrost the ice.

Does Your Heat Pump Need To Be Replaced or Repaired?

You might wonder whether you should continue paying to have your heat pump repaired or if you should simply opt for a heat pump replacement. Consider these things before making any big decisions:

  • The Warranty on Your Heat Pump: Find out whether or not your heat pump is still under warranty. If there is an active warranty, then you can always count on this agreement to cover your labor and materials charges. It’s a sound financial choice to keep your current unit around so long as it has an active warranty.
  • The Age of Your Heat Pump: The average heat pump will last for 10 years or longer. However, once heat pumps pass the 10-year mark, they’ve usually sustained a considerable amount of wear. Heat pump repairs will be required more frequently and most consumers don’t want to deal with the hassle. If want a system that performs consistently, go ahead and invest in a new one at this point.
  • Heat Pump Repairs vs. The Cost of Replacing Your Heat Pump: It’s also a good idea to compare the costs of repairing your heat pump to the cost of replacing it. Take a minute to add up all of your repair bills over the past several years and then try to estimate how much more you’ll have to pay in the future. Buying a new heat pump could be much cheaper than keeping the one you already have.


Final Word

No matter what season you’re in, a heat pump can help you enjoy a comfortable living environment. This unit can blow out cold air with the outside temperatures are hot and warm air when they plummet. If your heat pump starts forcing out hot air while its in cool mode, then the problem needs to be identified. The cause may be one of the reasons detailed above. To get immediate assistance, contact a trusted HVAC company right away.

Contact Point Bay Fuel for Help With Your Heat Pump


You can always get first-rate heat pump services in Ocean and Monmouth County, New Jersey when you call Point Bay Fuel. Our top-of-the-line technicians come highly certified and they’re more than capable of handling all of your heat pump installation, replacement, and repair needs. They know how to get the job done right.

When it comes to heat pump service costs, Point Bay Fuel will give you the most competitive rates in the region. Our maintenance team can also ensure that you’re always enjoying optimum levels of comfort and efficiency, and manageable heating and cooling bills. When your heat pump is ready to be replaced, we’ll also make sure that you choose the right one for your budget, your household, and your home heating and cooling goals. The work that we provide is always backed by a solid guarantee. Set up your service appointment now by calling Point Bay Fuel. We offer in-home estimates.

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