If you just replaced your AC with a heat pump, you’re probably wondering whether or not you can rely on the device to keep you warm in the winter and cool in the summer. If you hire a competent technician, they will tell you that a heat pump is sufficient. You don’t have to supplement the heat pump’s functions by adding an AC. But is that true? What about the fan?
Does The Outside Fan Run When Heat Pump Is On?
The outside fan runs when the heat pump is ON because it pulls heat from the outside to warm your home. Heat pumps are simply moving air from one location to another. This allows the units to limit their energy consumption.
This question makes sense if you’re accustomed to conventional air conditioners.
Let’s dissect the operations of a split system first!
It has a furnace and AC working in tandem to control your home’s temperature. The split system includes a series of ducts cutting across the house, a furnace and AC unit in a closet or garage, and an exterior unit. The external AC unit doesn’t run continuously.
Additionally, standard air conditioners do not work in cold weather. They don’t serve any purpose. You don’t want the air conditioner to add cold air to a frigid home in the winter.
However, the fan in a heat pump’s exterior unit should run continuously. Many people hire technicians to fix their ACs because their outdoor units won’t stop running in the winter.
They panic because they don’t realize that their unit is a heat pump, not an air conditioner. A heat pump is superior to an AC because it pulls heat from the outside to warm your home.
Furnaces are less efficient because they make their own heat.
If you don’t understand why the outside fan keeps running, find the model number and look for it online. You can also look for the reversing valve in the condenser.
A reversing valve proves that you have a heat pump.
Heat pumps are not perfect. You have to contend with burnt-out motors and low refrigerant levels. But the units are more versatile than standard air conditioners.
The running fan in the outside unit should only concern you if you hear additional sounds like banging and clanging.
Why Does My Outside Fan Keep Running on My Heat Pump?
Heat pumps do not generate hot or cold air in most situations. Instead, they pull warm air out of the house during warm seasons. They reverse the process when the temperature drops, pulling hot air into the house. Therefore, the fan should never stop running.
Savvy homeowners will wonder how a heat pump can keep a home warm during the winter. How can it pull hot air from outside when the exterior temperature is so low? That is a good question. I’ve pointed out three critical facts for you to remember:
1). Weather Conditions
First of all, heat pumps work best in places with mild winters. You can still rely on these appliances to keep you warm in colder weather. But they are less efficient because they have to work much harder to pull heat from outside when the exterior temperatures are so low.
Many people do not realize that the fan in a heat pump can defrost the unit. This is probably the most important role the fan plays or at least one of the most important.
Don’t forget: the heat pump has external units that have to withstand extremely low temperatures during the winter. They need all the help they can get to keep the frost at bay.
3). Aux Heat
Have you heard of auxiliary heat? As you now know, heat pumps do not generate heat in the conventional sense. Instead, they move heat from the interior to the exterior, or vice versa, depending on the temperature.
But what if the weather is too cold? What if the heat pump has failed to generate the hot air your home needs because the exterior temperature is so low?
The system will activate an auxiliary heating mechanism that generates more heat. Reliable Air has seen heat pumps that produce additional heat using electric heat strips in the ductwork. They have also encountered heat pumps that work with gas furnaces to keep you warm in harsh winters.
Aux heat is similar to emergency heat. However, aux heat activates automatically. Aux heat becomes emergency heat when you manually start auxiliary heating. But auxiliary heat will increase the heat pump’s energy consumption.
Therefore, you shouldn’t activate it unless you have exterior temperatures below freezing. Otherwise, you should allow the heat pump to determine whether or not auxiliary heat is necessary.
What If the Outside Fan Doesn’t Run When Heat Pump Is On?
Heat pumps are not immune to failure. If the outside fan stops running, you can blame one or more of the following:
1). Burnt Out Motor
You can blame the issues on burnt-out motors. Overtaxing a heat pump can cause the motor to burn out. The same thing will happen if you fail to perform the relevant maintenance routines. And unfortunately, replacement fan motors are not cheap.
2). Faulty Components
Fans have several components that can fail because you bought a defective unit or overworked the appliance. The heat pump may develop a fault with the contactor switch (which can eventually wear out), belt (which can also slip off after wearing out), blocked oil filters, and dead capacitors.
3). Heat Pump Off
Is your heat pump on? The fan will run continuously so long as the heat pump is on. But if you turn the heat pump off, the fan will stop spinning. Sometimes, your problem is as simple as a heat pump you forgot to turn on
Like every fan in every device, heat pump fans are vulnerable to debris. If debris enters the exterior unit, it will clog the system, preventing the fan from moving.
You can fix some fans by simply dislodging the debris with a long object like a stick. But in some cases, the debris is lodged so far inside the unit that you have to hire a technician to disassemble the device.
If you ignore the debris, it will expedite the rate at which the fan wears out. If the obstruction is strong enough, it could destroy the fan blades.
Have you checked your manual? Do you understand the heat pump’s settings? Maybe the fan stopped running because you adjusted the settings. You could have unintentionally deactivated the exterior fan.
If you don’t know what you did and you don’t understand the manual’s instructions, call a technician. They can find out where you went wrong. Also, make sure you have a heat pump.
Rhoads Energy has listed several steps that people can use to adjust the fan on their HVAC system. Maybe you think you have a heat pump when, in truth, your device is an ordinary air conditioner, which is why the fan stopped working.
Do I Need To Fix It To Make It Run? How?
Yes, you have to fix a fan that doesn’t run. You must find a way to make it work. The repairs you have to perform will depend on the problem. For instance, you should replace worn-out belts, blocked filters, and dead capacitors.
But this is not always necessary. In some situations, basic maintenance is enough to fix the problem. For instance, if you can remove the debris in the fan, it will probably work.
But you may require a technician’s assistance. After all, anyone can pull debris out of a fan with a stick. But what if you have a power supply issue? What if the current cannot reach the fan?
What will you do? An electrician can resolve all those problems. They can determine whether the heat pump can still work or if you need to replace it.
What Happens If Outside Fan Doesn’t Run In Heat Pump?
Heat pumps don’t generate the heat you need when the fan isn’t running. A faulty fan will compromise the heat pump’s operations.
If the temperature in your home is plummeting during the winter, you should check the fan. Frost could have overwhelmed the exterior unit because the fan stopped working.
The indoor fan is just as problematic. If the indoor motor stops working, the resulting pressure will interrupt the operations of the high-pressure switch.
For this reason, you have to maintain heat pumps regularly to identify problems like the ones mentioned above before winter comes.