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Why Does My Heat Pump Keep Bubbling?

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Odd noises from a heat pump can indicate a major problem with the unit, and it’s good to keep an ear out for them. For example, this bubbling sound you keep hearing … what does it mean?

The likely cause for this bubbling or a gurgling sound coming from a heat pump is that there are air bubbles trapped in the refrigerant line. This is a serious problem because it means air has gotten into the line through a leak. Losing refrigerant puts the entire heat pump at risk since the unit is designed to run at a specific charge of refrigerant—if the charge drops, it will eventually lead to a compressor burn-out and a system breakdown. If you call our professionals for heat pump repairs in Indianapolis, IN, they will find the leaks in the refrigerant lines, seal them, and then replace the exact amount of refrigerant lost. This will get your heat pump back to normal.

Other Noises to Listen For

Your heat pump is a precise piece of equipment, which is one reason that strange sounds can help alert you to something going wrong when the trouble is still small. Along with bubbling and gurgling, here are some other warning noises to listen for:

  • Grinding: This is a warning of motor problems. A heat pump uses motors for the indoor air handler, the outdoor fan, and the compressor. Grinding sounds usually indicate a motor is overheating and on the way to burning out. You want technicians to get on this fast: the motor probably needs to be replaced.
  • Shrieking: This is also likely a motor problem sound, but in this case, it’s an earlier warning. It could be dirt on the bearings of the motor, or the bearings might be wearing down. In either case, you can often save the motor with quick professional repairs.
  • Metallic striking: This is the unpleasant noise of metal-against-metal, and you should turn the heat pump off right away if you hear it because it means somewhere the heat pump is causing damage to itself. The problem may be something loose in the air handler that fan blades are striking, or the fan itself could be misaligned and hitting the outside casing.
  • Electric buzzing noise: This sound often means there is an electrical component in the heat pump that’s failing or a contact that’s become dirty. If you haven’t heard this buzzing before, it’s something you’ll want professionals to check on.
  • Hissing: This is another warning sign of loss of refrigerant—high-pressure refrigerant is escaping through a leak in the line. 
  • Rattling: Sometimes this noise simply means the hatch to the heat pump cabinet wasn’t closed all the way. If that’s not the problem, there are several other possibilities, such as the cabinet or another part becoming loose. If the heat pump is old (15 years or more) this rattling is often an indication the system is ready for a replacement. 

We want to take this opportunity to remind you that many of these problems can be avoided if you remember to have twice annual maintenance for your heat pump. The spring appointment season is coming up soon, so don’t forget it!

Your Comfort Is Vital—so always call on Vital Heating & Air! Your Indianapolis Licensed HVAC Contractor.

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