Careful of Your Heat Pump After a Power Outage

The following is a guest post from Don Hester of NCW Inspections

Heat pumps are very common in North Central Washington towns like Leavenworth because of the need for air conditioning. Heat pumps combined with our lower energy rates can create a very low cost of operation for heating needs during the winter.  

Photo courtesy of Chan Bliss on Flickr


  One thing that we all know though is that winter can bring many surprises. One surprise you do not want is for your heat pump to fail after an extended power outage.

The advice that I am about to give can be given wholeheartedly and from personal experience.  This humble little home inspector has had the scenario described happen and caused the compressor in my heat pump to fail

Every homeowner should understand that special care should be taken when turning the heat pump on after an extended power outage.

The refrigerant in the compressor takes time to warm-up before it can properly operate. If started cold it puts a very large demand on the system that can cause the compressor to fail. This is referred to as refrigerant slugging. This will be more critical in very cold conditions and as the unit ages.

 During the power outage you want to want to switch the heat system into supplemental/emergency heat mode at the thermostat.

This will engage the supplemental heating elements in the furnace when the power returns.

You should wait approximately 6 to 8 hrs before switching back into heat pump mode.  

Photo courtesy of Sean Dreilinger on Flickr


    Carrier suggests that if the electricity to the heat pump has been off for more than 30 minutes switch your thermostat to EHEAT (emergency heat) mode before restarting your heat pump.  Leave the system in EHEAT mode for an amount of time equal to the power outage. If you cannot determine how long the power has been off, leave the system in EHEAT mode for 8 hrs. Lennox suggests running their systems for 6 hr before trying to engage the heat pump.   If after that period of time the heat pump does not work properly a call to your local HVAC professional should be made.

  Every home owner should make themselves familiar with the operation of their heating and cooling system.  Most system manuals can be found online.


  For Carrier Systems- For Lennox systems-     Remember most manufacturers suggest a minimum yearly maintenance and preferable two a year during the heating and cooling seasons.

Don Hester of NCW Home Inspections, LLC  is a Licensed Washington State Home Inspector located in Wenatchee Washington serving Chelan County, Douglas County, Kittitas County, Okanogan County and Grant County Washington.





I wish I had read your article before an extended outage hit us here in AZ. When the electric returned, my heat pump didn't work. I'm not an HVAC guy, but if I had done a bit of research on how to care for it, I would not have had to shell out some coins for a new pump.

goodman heatpump... there was a power outage here 2 nights ago.. blew the 3 amp on the low voltage board.. replaced it.. now everytime on ramp up keeps blowing fuses... any ideas whats up ?

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Allyson and Geordie Romer

Leavenworth real estate agents - Allyson and Geordie Romer

For over a decade, Allyson and Geordie have been serving clients in the Lake Wenatchee and Leavenworth real estate market. Together, they work tirelessly to stay on top of the regional market and present the most relevant opportunities to their clientele.

When not in the office, they can be found exploring the endless recreation opportunities of the area in all of its seasons.




Geordie provided excellent real estate representation! We appreciated his detailed knowledge of the market, his up front and honest approach, and his negotiation skills.
As reviewed on Zillow  – 

- Laura Anderson



As “west siders” looking for a getaway near Leavenworth, Geordie provided insight … his knowledge of design features important in a “snowy winter wonderland” was appreciated. Thanks Geordie!
As reviewed on Zillow  –

- Jean Stern



Geordie made this somewhat complicated transition easier for us…going above and beyond to help us work through issues that came up during the sale of our parents home. We appreciated his knowledge, attentiveness to details and his willing spirit.
Our family is grateful for Geordie!
As reviewed on Zillow  – 

- Terry Foster



Geordie was great in every way. We have been looking in the Leavenworth area for some time, and Geordie was absolutely the best for local knowledge, history and depth on neighborhoods, developments and the local market trends. He was very quick to respond (even when he was on his vacation) and worked very diligently to get all of our questions answered in a very timely fashion. We would recommend him highly to anyone looking to buy or sell a home. Very friendly, and helped us navigate all of the local options before we made an offer on the property that we purchased. Thank you, Geordie!

As reviewed on Zillow  – 

- Ryan Olsen



It was such a pleasure to work with Geordie and his wife, Allyson on our cabin purchase. They showed us a variety of locations, listened to what we wanted and helped us find the perfect match. Everything was smooth and not stressful, just relaxed and easy. We would definitely recommend Geordie and use him again if the need arises!

As reviewed on Zillow  – 

- Cammie Schlosser


Moving to Leavenworth?

Are you looking for a cabin or a condo in Leavenworth that your family can use as a home base when climbing, skiing or hiking around Leavenworth or Lake Wenatchee?

Maybe you rent a house here and have decided to stay, surprised how a summer of rafting somehow turned into seven years.

Maybe it’s time to escape the hustle of the big city (and its rain) and move to Leavenworth with its four seasons.

Maybe you bought a condo years ago, don’t seem to use as much, and it’s time to sell.

Whatever your motivation, we are here to help. If you are buying a home, the best place to start is with our Homebuyer’s Guide to Leavenworth.