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 becoming popular HVAC systems in temperate climates. Their versatility and efficiency are among their main selling points. Most problems can be avoided with regular maintenance. If you have neglected your heat pump unit, then you may notice efficiency issues, comfort problems, and more. One common issue that many homeowners experience is a heat pump won’t turn off. In this article, we discuss some of the common causes of this heat pump problem.

Explore Our HVAC Services Call To Schedule A Free, In-Home Estimate

Possible Reasons Why Your Heat Pump Won’t Shut Off

Below we outline some common culprits associated with a heat pump that won’t turn off.

1. Heat Pump Thermostat Setting

homeowner adjusting heat pump using thermostat

Heat pumps gradually circulate conditioned air to increase or decrease home temperature. Since they work slowly, they tend to run for long periods of time before turning off once the thermostat setting has been reached. They may have difficulty reaching the settings during extremely cold periods. They run indefinitely because the house never gets warm enough. Provide help by using an auxiliary heat source.

2. Thermostat Wiring Of Heat Pump

The thermostat controls the actions of the heat pump. If it cannot send signals to the unit, then it may continue running even after reaching the set temperature. Check for frayed wires and loose connections. Better yet, call an experienced HVAC contractor.

Call Today: (856) 665-4545

3. Thermostat Batteries

battery replacement for thermostat that controls heat pump

Certain thermostats are powered by batteries. If these lose their charge, then the thermostats will no longer function. They can’t tell the heat pump to turn off. A quick replacement should set things right.

4. Heat Pump Blower Fan

Sometimes people think that the heat pump is running but it is only the blower fan that is moving. Check whether the thermostat fan setting is “ON”. This will keep the fan running no matter what. Change it to “AUTO” so that the fan will stop along with the heat pump.

Learn More About Our Heating & Cooling Services Call To Schedule A Free Consultation

5. Blower Relay Switch On Heat Pump

If the fan’s controller malfunctions, then it will not behave the way it is supposed to. This can only be resolved by replacing the blower fan relay. Ask a technician to do this for you.

6. Heat Pump Is Auto-Switching To Maintain Temperature

Heat pumps can bring in hot or cold air depending on the needs of the household. They can switch automatically between the two modes. If the heat pump runs continuously, then it may be due to constant auto-switching to maintain the desired temperature. Try changing the thermostat settings to see if it stops.

7. Emergency Heat Setting

The system may be having a hard time achieving the set temperature because it is relying on the auxiliary heat source instead of the primary heat pump. Check whether the emergency heat setting is active. Call a professional HVAC contractor for inspection and repair.


Why Your Heat Pump Runs Without Reaching Desired Temperature

Below we outline some common reasons a heat pump will keep running without reaching the thermostat setting.

1. Clogged Heat Pump Air Filter

dirty heat pump air filter.jpg

Sometimes the heat pumps work all day without achieving their objective. The most common reason is a dirty air filter which prevents fresh air from moving into the system. Manufacturers recommend changing filters every one to three months. This depends on certain factors of an individual home. Therefore, check the air filter on a monthly basis and replace it when it is dirty.

2. Heat Set Too High During Cold Weather

Heat pump performance decreases in extremely cold environments. If it plunges below 30 degrees Fahrenheit outside, then the system may have a hard time maintaining 80 degrees inside. If the thermostat is set above this temperature, then it will keep on running in a futile attempt to reach the goal.

Learn More About Our Heat Pump Services Call To Schedule A Free Quote

3. Heat Pump Set Too Low During Hot Weather

The same limitation exists in extremely hot environments. Be sure to manage your expectations about what the system can do during the peak of summer. Don’t set the temperature too low.

4. Tripped Circuit Breakers

circuit breaker box

If circuit breakers were tripped, then parts of the HVAC system will not be operational. The malfunction may continue recurring unless fixed by professionals.

5. Windows/Doors Open Or Poor Insulation

The heat pump’s hard work may be wasted if the conditioned air continues to escape through open doors and windows. Keep these closed and seal the gaps around them. Enhance insulation if lacking.

Explore Our Heat Pump Repairs & Replacements Call To Make An Appointment

6. Heat Pump Refrigerant Leak

heat pump refrigerant leak

You may be losing refrigerant through a leak, reducing the system’s ability to manage the indoor temperature. Ask an HVAC technician to stop the coolant leak and add more refrigerant.

7. Damaged Compressor Contactor

This component naturally succumbs to wear and tear over time. Call a professional for inspection and repair.

8. Malfunctioning Condensate Pump

When in cooling mode, heat pumps produce water through condensation. A condensate pump should take care of it. If not, then see whether it was switched off or not functioning properly.

Get Started - Call To Schedule An Appointment

9. Failed Defrost Cycle

image of outdoor heat pump unit in defrost cycle

Cool outside air can make ice form on the external coils. Heat pumps handle this using a standard defrost cycle. If you see a large ice build-up, then defrosting did not work. Consider a system reset to fix this. If it persists, then call an HVAC technician.

10. Stuck In AC Mode

The dual nature of heat pumps is thanks to reversing valves. If these get stuck, then the system will run indefinitely without achieving the goal temperature. This requires professional attention.

11. Undersized Heat Pump Or Ductwork

Consider the possibility that the heat pump system is simply undersized for the task. A small heat pump will not be able to cool down a large house. Check the specifications and consult an HVAC company about replacements.

Learn More About Our Heat Pump Services Call To Schedule An Appointment

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

1. Check The Heat Pump Controls


There are a few things that homeowners can perform to investigate the matter and potentially restore normalcy. One is to check the controls and enter the correct settings. Input a reasonable goal temperature. Make sure the fan is set to AUTO, not ON. Choose the correct mode based on environmental conditions.

2. Inspect The Outdoor Heat Pump Unit

Go outside and inspect the outdoor unit. Check for dirt and ice build-up. This points to a failed defrost cycle.

3. Examine The Evaporator Coils

image of a dirty heat pump coil

See whether the coils are overrun with grime or corrosion. These are signs of refrigerant leakage and system inefficiency.

4. Call A Professional HVAC Technician

If you have done all you can and the problem continues, then get help from professionals as soon as possible. They can perform advanced troubleshooting and complex components repairs.

Call To Make An Appointment

How To Avoid Heat Pump Problems

Keep reading to explore more on how to avoid issues with your heat pump.

1. Change Air Filters

replacing HVAC filter

Homeowners can reduce the risk of heat pump problems by diligently performing basic maintenance tasks. They can clean the indoor and outdoor units, as well as their surroundings. They can also change the air filters every few months as recommended by the manufacturer.

2. Schedule Annual Heat Pump Maintenance

Homeowners should also schedule annual professional maintenance for a more thorough inspection and cleaning. The pros will prevent problems by making sure that there are no leaks, wiring issues, or failing components.

Learn More About Our Heat Pump Services Call To Schedule An Appointment

Heat Pump FAQs

image of faq depicting heat pump faqs

1. How Many Hours A Day Should A Heat Pump Run?

If everything is running well, then heat pumps should run for 15 minutes or more after achieving the set temperature. Frequent on and off switching may be due to power supply issues, wrong thermostat settings, dirty filters, and other problems.

2. Do Heat Pumps Really Save Money?

Yes. Heat pumps can potentially lower utility bills. These systems are energy-efficient so they don’t waste power as much as other heating and cooling solutions. According to studies, heat pumps can use 57%-81% less energy compared to traditional HVAC equipment.

3. What Does A Yellow Light Mean For My Heat Pump?

If the thermostat is flashing a yellow light, then the heat pump is malfunctioning. The problem can be traced to a transformer, capacitor, or overload protection device.

4. Can You Paint A Heat Pump?

Yes, this is possible. However, experts do not recommend it as it can affect performance.

5. Do I Need Professional Heat Pump Maintenance?

Some maintenance tasks are easy enough for homeowners to do on their own. However, advanced tasks are better left to the professionals as they require a higher level of skills and knowledge.

Explore Our Heat Pump System Services Call McAllister Energy To Schedule An Appointment



Make it a habit to replace the filters and schedule heat pump tune-ups. If you notice anything out of the ordinary such as nonstop operation, then perform basic troubleshooting as described above. Don’t hesitate to call for professional help if you need it. Licensed technicians can fix any system issue for you. Professional maintenance is also recommended for better system reliability, efficiency, and longevity.

Get Started - Call To Schedule An Appointment

Call McAllister Energy For All Of Your HVAC Requirements

McAllister Energy

When you need superior HVAC services in Camden County, New Jersey, make sure to call McAllister Energy. We have the best professionally certified technicians on staff for all your high-quality heating and cooling maintenance, installations, replacements, and repairs. All our skilled techs have the knowledge and experience to service your HVAC system correctly.

McAllister Energy provides the most competitive HVAC service rates in the locality. We can help improve your comfort, energy efficiency, and indoor air quality while reducing your energy bills with our maintenance services. If you need to replace or repair your HVAC system, we can recommend the most suitable solutions that fit your budget. Your satisfaction is our priority, so all our work is guaranteed. Schedule a service appointment and call McAllister Energy today. We offer free, in-home estimates.

Call Now: (856) 665-4545 Read Our Reviews

You can click here to contact us now or call us at (856) 665-4545 to find out more!