Top Reasons Your Heat Pump Won’t Turn Off

image of a heat pump repair depicting a heat pump that keeps running

Heat pumps are gaining more popularity in areas with temperate climates. Some of their main selling features are their versatility and efficiency. Regular HVAC maintenance helps you prevent most issues. However, neglecting your system may lead to problems with your comfort and efficiency, among others. Regardless, all machinery is subject to wear and tear, which inevitably leads to an HVAC repair. One common heat pump problem homeowners encounter is a heat pump won’t turn off. This article discusses the top causes of this heat pump problem.

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Potential Causes For A Heat Pump That Won’t Turn Off

Here are several likely culprits as to why your heat pump won’t turn off:

Heat Pump Thermostat Setting

Heat pumps distribute conditioned air so your home temperature increases or decreases. They operate slowly, so they run for long periods before switching off when to has reached the thermostat setting. However, they may have trouble reaching the settings during frigid periods. They work indefinitely as the house doesn’t get sufficiently warm. Therefore, you should use an auxiliary heat source to assist the heat pump.

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Heat Pump’s Thermostat Wiring

thermostat wires

The thermostat controls the heat pump’s actions. The heat pump may continue its operations even after it reaches the set temperature if the thermostat cannot send signals to it. Check if the thermostat has loose connections or frayed wires. Alternatively, contact a certified HVAC technician.

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Heat Pump Blower Fan

Sometimes, homeowners may think that the heat pump is in operation, but only the blower fan may be running. Check the thermostat fan setting. It may be set to “ON,” and it can keep the fan running. Change the setting to “AUTO” so the fan will stop with the heat pump.

Thermostat Batteries

thermostat batteries that need a replacementSome thermostats are battery-operated. The batteries may lose their charge, affecting the thermostat’s functionality. The thermostat cannot signal the heat pump to switch off. Change the batteries to resolve this.

Blower Relay Switch On Heat Pump

A faulty fan controller means it cannot operate as it should. Replace the blower fan relay to fix this issue. Have an HVAC professional assist you.

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Heat Pump Is Auto-Switching To Maintain The Temperature

heat pump refrigeration cycle

Heat pumps can circulate cold or hot air per the home’s needs. They can switch automatically between these two modes. A heat pump that runs continuously may be because of the constant auto-switching to maintain the set temperature. Change the thermostat settings to see if it stops.

Emergency Heat Setting

The system may have difficulty reaching the set temperature as it depends on the auxiliary heat source instead of the primary heat pump. Determine if it has an active emergency heat setting. Contact an HVAC technician for a checkup and repair.

Reasons Your Heat Pump Continuously Runs But Doesn’t Reach The Set Temperature

Here are several common causes your heat pump continuously operates without reaching the thermostat setting:

Clogged Heat Pump Air Filter

image of a dirty heat pump coil

At times, the heat pumps run all day without reaching their goal. Dirty filters are the most common reason, as they prevent air from properly traveling into the system. Manufacturers recommend replacing the filters every 30 to 90 days. The frequency relies on specific factors of each home. It is best that you check the air filter every month and replace it as needed.

Heat Set Too High During Cold Weather

The performance of your heat pump drops in frigid climates. If the winter temperature outside drops below 30 degrees Fahrenheit, the system may have difficulty maintaining 80 degrees inside. If the thermostat’s temperature is set higher than this, the heat pump will keep running in a futile attempt to achieve its objective.

Heat Pump Set Too Low During Hot Weather

The same limitation also exists in scorching climates. Manage your expectations regarding the system’s performance during the height of summer. Don’t set the temperature too low.

Tripped Circuit Breakers

image of a circuit breaker that controls heat pump system

Tripped circuit breakers mean that parts of the HVAC unit won’t function. The problem may continue recurring unless professionals intervene.

Windows/Doors Open Or Poor Insulation

Conditioned air that continuously escapes via open windows and doors means that your heat pump has to work more than it should have to. Ensure all the doors and windows are closed and seal the gaps around them. Enhance any lacking insulation.

Heat Pump Refrigerant Leak

There may be a leak that’s causing refrigerant loss. In turn, the heat pump’s capacity to manage indoor temperature is reduced. Hire an HVAC technician to stop the leak and add more coolant.

Damaged Compressor Contactor

Over time, the compressor contactor succumbs to wear and tear. Get in touch with a professional to inspect and repair it.

Malfunctioning Condensate Pump

Heat pumps generate water via condensation when in cooling mode. A condensate pump helps dispose of the water. If not, check if the component is turned off or not operating as it should.

Failed Defrost Cycle

Cool air from the outside can form ice on the outdoor coils. Heat pumps can deal with this through a standard defrost cycle. If there is a significant ice buildup, defrosting may not work. Consider resetting the system to resolve this. Call an HVAC contractor if the problem persists.

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Stuck In AC Mode

The reversing valves give heat pumps their dual nature. These valves may get stuck, making the system run indefinitely without reaching the set temperature. This needs to be fixed by a professional.

Heat Pump Or Ductwork is Too Small

The heat pump may be too small to meet your heating or cooling requirements. For example, an undersized heat pump cannot cool a large house properly. Check the system’s specifications and call a reliable HVAC company about getting a replacement. Also, if the ductwork is too small for your heat pump system, it will not operate as expected. Contact an HVAC contractor to determine if this is the cause of your home comfort issues.

What To Do If Your Heat Pump Won’t Shut Off

image of a rusted condenser coil from an old heat pump unit

Homeowners can do some tasks in an attempt to restore normalcy. Here are the steps to take if you have a heat pump that will not turn off:

  • Check The Heat Pump Controls: Inspect the heat pump controls and check for the right settings. Input a reasonable temperature. Ensure that the fan is set to AUTO instead of ON. Select the right mode per the outdoor temperatures and conditions.
  • Inspect The Outdoor Heat Pump Unit: Go out and examine the exterior unit for any dirt or ice accumulation. If so, its defrost cycle may have failed.
  • Examine The Evaporator Coils: Check if the coils are covered in grime or corrosion. These issues point to a refrigerant leak and system inefficiency.
  • Call A Professional HVAC Technician: Call for professional help from an HVAC technician if you did all you could and the problem still persists. An expert can conduct advanced troubleshooting and complex repairs.
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How To Avoid Heat Pump Problems

image of a home air filter replacement

Here are ways you can prevent heat pump issues:

  • Change Air Filters: Diligently doing basic upkeep can reduce the risk of heat pump issues. Homeowners can clean the indoor and outdoor units and their immediate surroundings. Make it a habit to replace the air filters on a regular basis.
  • Book Annual Heat Pump Maintenance: Homeowners should also book yearly professional tune-ups to ensure a more thorough inspection and cleaning. Professionals will keep the problems at bay by ensuring that there aren’t any failing parts, leaks, or wiring issues. Due to their heating and cooling capabilities, heat pumps require maintenance twice a year.
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Heat Pump FAQs

  • How Many Hours A Day Should A Heat Pump Run?: If your heat pump runs well, it should run for around 15 minutes or more after reaching the set temperature. Problems like dirty filters, incorrect thermostat settings, and power supply issues can cause the heat pump to switch on and off frequently.
  • Do Heat Pumps Really Save Money?: Yes, heat pumps can help reduce your energy bills. They are energy efficient, so there’s not much power wastage like other heating and cooling systems. Studies show that heat pumps consume around 57% to 81% less energy than standard HVAC equipment.
  • What Does A Yellow Light Mean For My Heat Pump?: A thermostat flashing a yellow light suggests a malfunctioning heat pump. The issue can be traced to an overload protection device, capacitor, or transformer.
  • Can You Paint A Heat Pump?: Yes, you can paint a heat pump, but experts do not recommend it. This is because it can impact your system’s performance.
  • Do I Need Professional Heat Pump Maintenance?: Homeowners can conduct some maintenance tasks on their own. However, advanced tasks should be left to professionals because they need higher skills and knowledge levels.



Habitually change the air filters and schedule heat pump maintenance. If there is anything unusual with your heat pump, like non-stop operation, conduct basic troubleshooting as listed in this article. Don’t hesitate to contact a professional when you need it. Licensed HVAC contractors can repair any system issue for you. Professional tune-ups are also recommended for better system efficiency, reliability, and longevity.

Call Point Bay Fuel For All Your HVAC Needs


For your heating and cooling service needs in Ocean and Monmouth County, New Jersey, get in touch with Point Bay Fuel. We have only the best professionally certified technicians with the experience and knowledge to service any HVAC system accurately. All our techs can do high-quality HVAC installations, repairs, replacements, and maintenance.

Point Bay Fuel guarantees highly affordable HVAC service rates in the area. We can assist in enhancing your comfort, energy efficiency, and indoor air quality through our tune-up services. We can also help reduce your home’s energy costs. If you need an HVAC repair or replacement system, we can recommend the most suitable one for your home that’s within your budget. We back all of our work with a guarantee to ensure your satisfaction. Do not hesitate to contact Point Bay Fuel to book a service appointment. Call now for an in-home estimate.

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