How to Unstick a Reversing Valve on a Heat Pump

You’ve been enjoying the benefits of your heat pump all winter long, but now it seems to have stopped working properly. You’ve checked the filters and they’re clean, so you’re pretty sure the problem is with the reversing valve. How do you go about fixing it? We’re here to help. In this handy guide, we’ll show you how to unstick a reversing valve on a heat pump.

What is a Reversing Valve?

A reversing valve is the component in a heat pump that reverses the flow of refrigerant, allowing it to either heat or cool a building. If your reversing valve becomes stuck, it will not be able to switch between heating and cooling modes. Thus, your heat pump will be unable to function.

red and gray hydrant gate valve

Why is a Reversing Valve Stuck?

There are a number of reasons why your reversing valve is stuck. It could be that the valve is dirty and needs to be cleaned, or that there’s a build-up of ice on the coil that is preventing the valve from changing position. It’s also possible that the motor has failed, or there is a problem with the wiring.

If you’re lucky, it might just be a matter of lubricating the bearings. Before you do any of this, it’s important to identify the problem and understand why the valve is stuck in the first place. That’s why it’s important to call in a professional if you’re not sure what’s going on. They will be able to diagnose the problem and recommend the best course of action.

Identifying the Problem: Troubleshooting a Heat Pump Reversing Valve

It’s time to troubleshoot the problem and identify the cause of the reversing valve being stuck. Start by disconnecting any power sources for safety. Then, switch your multi-meter to an AC voltage setting, and test all wires as you look for any irregularities.

If you have an accessible reversing valve, try removing it from the system. This will give you a better look at the parts inside, and will help you determine if there are any obvious issues such as corrosion or misalignment. 

You may also want to check the valves’ positions and make sure they’re in their correct positions within the unit. Lastly, lubricate any parts that seem to be seized up. This should help restore functionality to your reversing valve.

If you’re still having trouble getting it unstuck after all of these steps, feel free to contact a professional for further help. Making sure that your heat pump’s reversing valve is functioning properly is key in ensuring its optimal performance.

Tools Required for Unsticking a Reversing Valve

To get your reversing valve unstuck, you will need a few tools. Most of these can be lying around the house or can be bought at a local hardware store.

To start with, you’ll need a pair of pliers, which are necessary to hold onto the parts while you’re working on them. You’ll also need penetrating oil to help loosen the stuck parts. In addition, you’ll likely need a wrench, hammer, and a screwdriver to make sure that all the parts are tightened correctly. Having all these tools handy is essential for successfully unsticking your reversing valve. Make sure to buy good quality and well-maintained tools to get the job done quickly.

Steps on How to Unstick a Reversing Valve on a Heat Pump

If your reversing valve gets stuck in one position (either on “heat” or “cool”), it can be difficult to diagnose what’s wrong with it without calling an engineer or technician who specializes in this kind of equipment. We’ve created seven steps that will help unstick common issues with your reversing valve so that you can take care of them yourself.

Turn off the power:

If you are not familiar with how to unstick a reversing valve, turn off the power at the breaker box. Then turn off the power to your unit. If you’re still having trouble, call an electrician.

Check for a tripped circuit breaker or blown fuse:

If you have a tripped circuit breaker, you need to reset it before continuing with the next step. To do this, turn off the power at the panel, and remove any fuses that are in use (you can find these by looking at your fuse panel). The third step will involve connecting a new fuse, so be sure not to touch any wires while doing this.

Make sure all pipes are clear of debris and grease:

The pipe leading from your heat pump unit should lead into a drainage system. If there is anything blocking it or affecting its flow, then no amount of unsticky spray will help. It’s worth checking because problems like this can cause damage over time; so, check now if possible.

Fix the air leak:

The first thing to do is check for leaks in the ducts. Check for any leaks at each register if you have one. If you don’t, then replace it with a new one, and keep checking with a flashlight, until you find one that’s leaking.

Make sure that there aren’t any air leaks around your blower wheel. This can happen because the fan motor has been running for too long without rest or because it’s got some dirt on it (which will cause vibration). If this is happening, remove the motor, and clean up all of its parts with some compressed air before reattaching it back onto your heat pump unit.

Jump the wires to check which way it needs to go to heat:

If it is in cooling mode, then push the cool button, and hold it down for five seconds. The display should change from “Heat” to “Cool.” If this does not happen, turn off your HVAC system at the breaker box or circuit breaker, and then repeat steps 2-4 until you get to heat mode.

If this does not work for some reason (i.e., no lights coming on), then try checking with a voltage tester: remove one of your wires from its grounding screw and touch another wire there, but don’t touch any other part of either wire. Then, touch both ends on top of each other, so that they form an open circular shape between them (like two people holding hands).

Turn the valve to heat mode manually:

To adjust the valve to heat mode, you will need to turn the set screws on the valve in the direction that you want it to go. Be sure that there is power turned on when doing this. You can also use an adjustable wrench or pliers to turn these screws as well. The idea behind this step is not only to change where, but also how much air goes through your system during different seasons and conditions (e.g., summer vs. winter).

red and black steel frame

Set the thermostat to “heat”:

This is where you set your desired temperature and wait for it to reach that temperature. If you want your heat pump to run all day long, set it at 70 degrees F. If you want it turned on only during the night when it’s cooler, then raise the setting by 5 degrees F per night until the day when you wake up at 53 degrees F, and are happy with how things are progressing thus far (this could take several days).

Turn on the power and see if you get heat into your home now:

If it works, congratulations! You can leave everything as it is, or if there are still issues with the unit being unresponsive to commands from its remote control (or vice-versa), then go back to Step 1 for more help with troubleshooting and diagnosis.

If nothing helps: Try gently prying it open with a screwdriver or other sharp objects. You could also try spraying a lubricant like WD-40 onto the valve to help it slide more easily. If all else fails, you may need to remove the valve and take it to a professional for repair.

Commonly Replaced Parts

While any part can fail, there are some common culprits. The most commonly replaced parts include the reversing valve solenoid, the spool valves, and the copper tubes. These parts tend to suffer from wear and tear over time. You may also need to replace the O-rings for the component to work properly after unsticking.

When working with a heat pump’s reversing valve, you should always use a new component when you replace one of its parts; otherwise, you may end up with an unsatisfactory result. Take your time and make sure you follow all of the steps correctly to get the best possible outcome.


When your reversing valve gets stuck, don’t panic! You can fix it yourself following the steps mentioned above and avoid the cost of repairs. Remember to take your time, and be gentle with the valve. If you’re not sure how to fix it, or if the valve is too damaged, consider seeking professional help. Additionally, if you’re looking for a reliable source of guidance and assistance in the world of streaming and Twitch services, StreamOz and their expert team can provide valuable insights to both followers and viewers. Explore the offerings at StreamOz for a seamless streaming experience.


What is a reversing valve in a heat pump?

A reversing valve is a crucial component in a heat pump system that controls the direction of refrigerant flow. It allows the heat pump to switch between heating and cooling modes, making it an essential part of the system.

Why would a reversing valve get stuck in a heat pump?

Reversing valves can get stuck due to various reasons, such as debris or dirt accumulation, refrigerant leaks, electrical issues, or wear and tear over time.

What are the signs that a reversing valve is stuck in a heat pump?

Signs of a stuck reversing valve include the heat pump not switching between heating and cooling modes, inadequate heating or cooling, unusual sounds from the unit, or the system running continuously without reaching the desired temperature.

Is it safe to try and unstick a reversing valve myself?

Unsticking a reversing valve may require technical knowledge and tools. If you are not experienced with HVAC systems, it’s advisable to contact a professional HVAC technician to avoid causing further damage or harm to yourself.

What are some DIY methods to attempt to unstick a reversing valve on a heat pump?

The article provides step-by-step instructions on how to safely attempt to unstick a reversing valve, including tapping it gently, checking for electrical issues, and ensuring proper power supply. However, exercise caution, and if you are unsure, consult a professional.

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