How Long Should a Heat Pump Run?


Posted by Spencer | July 20, 2023 | Reading Time:

When you need unmatched heat pump services, call Rainforest Plumbing & Air at 480-360-5278.

Your heat pump works all year long to provide heat in the winter months and cool air in the summer months. It has three different cycles that allow it to maintain a comfortable temperature in your home. If your heat pump has a problem, you may notice it running longer than usual or turning off and on frequently.

If you find yourself asking, “How long should a heat pump run?” this post will offer some insight to help you figure out the problem and whether you should schedule professional maintenance.

If your heat pump does not work as well as it should, it may have reached the end of its lifespan. Our team at Rainforest Plumbing & Air provides reliable heat pump installation in Phoenix, AZ, to ensure you have a functioning unit that keeps you comfortable without driving up your monthly energy bill.

The Heating Cycle

Even though winter temperatures in Phoenix don’t typically drop as low as in other parts of the country, you still need to heat your home when it gets chilly outside. During the heating cycle, a heat pump brings in outdoor air, heats it, and transfers it into your home, creating a comfortable temperature. 

The Cooling Cycle

A heat pump also works efficiently for cooling your home. It works much like a traditional air conditioner, using refrigerant to absorb heat from the air and transfer it outside, lowering the indoor temperature in a matter of minutes.

The Defrost Cycle

If condensation inside your heat pump freezes in cold weather, it can’t function as it should. During the defrost cycle, your heat pump detects excess moisture and switches to the cooling cycle, sending warm air over the frozen parts and removing condensation. The defrost cycle is a form of self-maintenance that helps the heat pump work efficiently. 

How Long Should Each Cycle Last?

It’s normal for your heat pump to turn on two or three times an hour, whether it's cooling or heating your home. The cycles last at least ten minutes and could last up to 20 minutes, depending on the outdoor temperature.

If the outdoor temperature is extremely hot or cold, the duration of each cycle may change. Paying attention to how long cycles last when your heat pump is in good shape will help you know if it needs repair when it runs longer than usual.

Signs You Need Heat Pump Maintenance 

There are a few clues to watch for that let you know you need to schedule heat pump maintenance. 

Short Cycling

If there’s anything that will make you wonder, “How long should a heat pump run?” it’s short cycling. As a heat pump ages, it slowly loses efficiency. When your heat pump turns on and off quickly all day and all night, that’s known as short cycling. 

If you schedule professional maintenance, a qualified HVAC technician can identify the underlying cause of short cycling and let you know if it’s the best choice financially to repair your unit or if you should install a newer model.

Poor Air Temperature 

If your heat pump blows cool air in winter or warm air in summer, it needs some professional attention. Damaged components like a turning valve or condenser fan prevent your heat pump from working properly. Replacing components along the way can help your heat pump work efficiently again before you need to replace it completely.

Refrigerant Leak

You may think discovering a refrigerant leak in winter means you can wait until spring to schedule heat pump repair, but that isn’t the case. Your heat pump uses refrigerant, even in winter, to absorb cool air and transfer it outside. 

If you notice liquid leaking from your heat pump, you could have damaged evaporator coils, which only grow bigger the longer you wait to schedule a professional repair.

Emergency Heat Pump Service in Phoenix

A heat pump in good condition should cycle on and off no more than two or three times per hour. If you notice your heat pump running constantly or not at all, it’s time to schedule professional maintenance.

At Rainforest Plumbing & Air, we provide 24-hour emergency service for homes in Phoenix, AZ, and the nearby areas. If you keep asking yourself, “How long should a heat pump run?” we can help figure out if your unit is struggling.If we find a problem, we can complete the heat pump repair to keep your home comfortable for as long as possible. Contact us by filling out our online form or calling 480-360-5278 to schedule HVAC or plumbing service.

Author Bio:
Ike Tippetts

He founded the company and soon found himself answering phones and dispatching team members around the clock! Rainforest Plumbing & Air has come a long way since they started in 1999 as a two-truck operation. 

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