Once it becomes hot outside, the first thing you might do is set your heat pump to air conditioning mode to cool down. But if your heat pump immediately switches back to heat mode, schedule a repair appointment with a contractor soon. Your heat pump's reversing valve may be on the fritz. Learn more about your heat pump's reversing valve and how to repair or replace it below.

What's a Reversing Valve?

The reversing valve allows your heat pump to switch from cool to heat anytime you need to do so during the year. The valve connects directly to the suction and discharge lines inside your heat pump. To activate the reversing valve, all you need to do is change the settings on your thermostat from heat to cool or cool to heat. However, some things can prevent the valve from receiving signals from your thermostat, including electrical problems. 

The reversing valve electronically receives signals from your thermostat through a special component known as the electromagnetic solenoid. The solenoid sends electronic signals directly to the valve through a network of wires hidden behind your walls. Once activated, the reversing valve instructs the heat pump to either remove heat from your home or send cold air into it. If the valve doesn't receive the correct messages from the solenoid, it will switch back to its original position inside the heat pump. 

Several things can keep the valve from receiving information from the electromagnetic solenoid, including a broken solenoid. The solenoid can break if it corrodes or rusts. The solenoid can also short out or experience an electrical problem. The problem can prevent the solenoid from communicating directly with the reversing valve. The valve will eventually become fixated or stuck in place.

You don't want to repair the electromagnetic solenoid or reversing valve yourself. You want to have an HVAC contractor address the issues for you. 

How Will an HVAC Contractor Fix Your Heat Pump?

An HVAC contractor will need to see if the reversing valve is stuck in place before they fix it. If the valve is stuck, a contractor will examine the solenoid to see if it contains rusts or electrical wiring issues. If the solenoid is damaged, a contractor will need to replace it with a new part. 

After a contractor completes the repairs above, they'll test your heat pump. If the heat pump switches from the cool mode to the heat mode right away, a contractor will replace the reversing valve. A contractor will complete another set of tests on the heat pump after the replacement. 

If your heat pump continues to switch back to the heat mode, an HVAC contractor will recommend you replace your heat pump. Your old heat pump may be too small to handle the heat in your environment, or it may be outdated. You can choose a heat pump that works better for your home.

Learn more about reversing valves and electromagnetic solenoids by consulting a heat pump repair contractor today.