Summer is rarely long enough. In fact, many Canadians complain that the summer season goes by too fast, even if they love that there are three other seasons to enjoy. While it’s great to enjoy the outside hot air on a beautiful summer day, there may be times when you want to cool off in your home with a functioning cooling system.
Unfortunately, cooling systems malfunction or break down. Too often this happens in the middle of the hottest, most humid day of the year. And when this does happen, it’s never a pleasant experience.
It’s common for heat pumps to malfunction in the middle of a hot summer because that’s when they work the hardest. When any type of system is working very hard, there’s a greater chance that the system could break down. Steps to reduce the chance of this happening include regular maintenance and watching for early warning signs that the cooling system is strained or could break down.
The heat pump often provides the earliest indicator that there is potentially a problem. You may notice that the pump isn’t circulating as much cool air. It’s still providing cold air, just not as much and not as efficiently circulated. There are a few reasons for this:
• Coolant or refrigerant leaks
• Dirty air filter
• Cooling cycle interruption
Coolant is required to cool your home. Sometimes coolant is also referred to as refrigerant. Your home gets cooled when the indoor part of the unit evaporates the coolant so that it can absorb the heat energy from the air through the ducts. While this is happening, the outdoor unit condenses the heat-absorbing coolant and sends it out of your home. If there’s a coolant leak, there will be insufficient refrigerant for the process to work effectively and your home starts to warm up.
Dirty Air Filter
Any vehicle works less efficiently if the air filter is clogged with dirt and grime. The same holds true for a cooling system and the effectiveness of the output pumping of a heat pump.
In a home cooling system, the air filter protects the heat pump for dirt and other particles floating around in the air. Ductworks in homes can be full of dust and small insects and the filter protects the cooling system from these.
The filter is highly effective at preventing contaminants from getting into the cooling system. Unfortunately, the filter is not self-cleaning and is unable to get rid of the contaminants itself. Eventually too many contaminants block the filter preventing good air flow necessary for an effective and efficient cooling system.
A dirty air filter is very easy to fix, even for the least handy person. Simply switch the old filter for a new filter. It’s better to do this regularly, every three months or so. A clogged filter means the system has to work harder to try to pull air through, and a harder working system means more wear and tear on the heat pump output pumping.
Cooling Cycle Interruption
A problem that is what it sounds like; when the heat pump isn’t able to complete a full cooling cycle and runs for only a couple of minutes, it is usually caused by an electrical system problem.