Pool Heat Pump Troubleshooting

Pool heat pump troubleshooting is an excellent way to identify minor problems that might be affecting the heaters operation. There are countless issues that arise that can be solved in a matter of minutes on your own that will get you back enjoying warm water in no time without needing to pay a pool professional to come by for a visit. If you find your pool water is cold or isn't being heated enough we can help with our comprehensive list below. 

pool heat pump troubleshooting

There is no substitute for a qualified service professional to investigate a problem with your pool heat pump, but there are many occasions where there's a simple solution like restarting the heater or ensuring the breaker isn't tripped. If you are using heat pump technology to heat your pool you have made a great choice but eventually there will be a problem and why not try to fix it on your own.

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Pool Heat Pump Troubleshooting List

If you already own a pool heat pump you are probably very happy with how well it heats your pool all season long. If you just had a heat pump installed and can't seem to get it working you should ensure that it was installed properly. A reputable pool technician should double check that your pump is creating enough flow for the heater and it's located in a place where air flow isn't being obstructed. 

This pool heat pump troubleshooting list has common issues you might come across when first installing a heater and even after years of reliable use. Let's get started taking a look at pool heat pump troubleshooting so you can get back to enjoying your pool. We want to remind you that if you are uncomfortable troubleshooting your heat pump contact the manufacturer or a pool service professional. 

  1. Heater won't turn on
  2. Heater not heating
  3. Heater leaking water
  4. Heater keeps shutting off
  5. Loud or unusual noises from the heater

Pool Heat Pump Won't Turn On

The pool heat pump won't turn is the most common pool heat pump troubleshooting question we get asked and it can be caused by a few things. Aside from making sure the power switch on the unit is turned on you can troubleshoot the following.

  • Ensure that the heater is plugged into a power source. You may need to follow the connection to the breaker to make sure everything is connected between the unit and the main circuit breaker.
  • Make sure the circuit breaker hasn't been tripped and sitting in the OFF position. 

If you have double checked that the heater is receiving power and it still won't power on, you might have faulty wires or a bad, corroded connection and you should contact a pool heater technician. 

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Pool Heat Pump Not Heating 

If your pool heat pump is not heating you could have any number of issues that might take a bit of time to diagnose. Often the problem can come down to not understanding how a pool heat pump works. There could be an issue with the pump or it could be something as simple as setting the thermostat properly.

  • Ensure the heater is getting a sufficient flow of water. All valves should be open and the filter clean and clear of debris that could restrict water pressure. In extreme cases you will need to purchase a pool pump with a higher horsepower or a variable speed pool pump to increase water pressure to the heater. The pump needs to be pumping sufficient water before the heater will start producing heat.
  • Ensure air temperature is above 50℉. A pool heat pump will have a very hard time drawing any heat out of temperatures below 45℉.
  • Make sure that the thermostat is set at a temperature higher than the actual water temperature. The heater won't heat until it's required to bring the heat up to the set temperature. 
  • Ensure adequate pump run times. If you don't operate your pump and circulation system often enough, the heater won't have enough time to increase the water temperature. A pool heat pump increases water temperature very slowly and it could take several hours to raise 1℉.
  • Airflow may be obstructed. A heater needs adequate airflow to allow it to operate effectively. If there are leaves, twigs or other debris blocking airflow or on the condenser, the heater will heat slowly or not at all. 

You may have damage to the evaporator coil or inadequate freon pressure but both are beyond basic pool heat pump troubleshooting. If you work through the above steps and still find that your pool water isn't heating, you will need to contact a service technician. 

Pool Heat Pump Leaking Water

If you notice water leaking from your pool heat pump or a puddle forming around the base, it's one of two things. It's either water created as a byproduct of the heating process and is completely normal. It could also be water leaking from a connection within the heater that should be fixed as soon as possible by a professional.

  • Test the water to determine if it is regular water condensation or water from the pool. A regular pool test strip is sufficient to make the determination, if there is chlorine sanitizer in the water you have a leak that needs to be fixed by a professional. 
  • Are drains clear and unclogged. You might have a clogged drain that needs to be cleaned out to allow proper drainage from the heater. 

In cooler temperatures you may develop what looks like frost or ice on the heater. We recommend carrying out the same test on the water to determine if it is pool water or not. If you have other problems with your heater beyond the scope of this page on pool heat pump troubleshooting, contact a reputable pool service technician near you. 

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Pool Heat Pump Keeps Shutting Off

If your pool heat pump keeps shutting off you may have a few things going on that could require some further investigating. The frequency of the pump shutting off and turning back on should give you a clue. If it is happening when your pool water is near the set temperature it could mean it is working to keep water at the desired temperature and is perfectly normal.

If the frequency of the shutting off and turning back on is random it could be something internally going on that needs attention. 

  • If you have low or high freon pressure you could get intermittent shutting off. It could be caused by outside air temperature too low for the heat pump to operate, but if temperatures are ideal it could be something that needs attention from a service technician.
  • Low water pressure can cause shutting off. If it's happening intermittently, try to identify what is causing the drop in pressure and see if it correlates with anything like; pump timer, water features or hot tub bypass. It's a good idea to check your filter and clean if necessary to bring water pressure back up. 

Unusual Noises from the Pool Heat Pump

If you encounter loud or unusual noises with your pool heat pump, it is advisable to consult the manufacturer's guidelines or seek assistance from a professional technician who specializes in heat pump repairs. They can diagnose the specific cause of the noise and perform the necessary repairs or replacements to restore proper functionality. Here are some common causes:

  • A malfunctioning or worn-out fan motor can produce loud or rattling noises. This could be due to a loose fan blade, damaged bearings, or a motor that needs lubrication or replacement.
  • A faulty or failing compressor can result in unusual noises, such as grinding, hissing, or screeching sounds. This may indicate issues with internal components or refrigerant leaks.
  • Restricted airflow can lead to excessive noise. Check for obstructions, such as debris or leaves, around the heat pump unit or within the air intake and exhaust areas. Clear any blockages to allow proper airflow.
  • Vibrating or loose components, such as panels, screws, or fasteners, can create rattling or banging sounds. Inspect the heat pump and tighten any loose connections or components.
  • Insufficient refrigerant levels or refrigerant leaks can cause the heat pump to operate inefficiently and produce unusual noises. Refrigerant leaks require professional attention to identify and repair.
  • Heat pumps have a defrost cycle to remove frost buildup on the coils during colder temperatures. During this cycle, you may hear hissing or sizzling sounds, which are normal. However, if the noise is excessively loud or persistent, there may be an issue with the defrost control board or sensors.

Pool heat pump troubleshooting can be incredibly useful for identifying easy to fix problems but if you find that you can't quite figure it out, call the professionals. A heat pump is arguably the most reliable heater you can purchase for your pool and you should have years of trouble free use, up to 20 years in most cases. 


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