Heat Pump Problems in Winter… That Aren’t Problems
Are you spending your first winter season with a heat pump providing you with comfort? Maybe you had the heat pump installed in the spring to replace an old AC and furnace, or perhaps you’ve moved into a new home with a heat pump previously installed.
Regardless of the reason, you may find some of the behavior from the heat pump during cold weather a bit odd. In most cases, this isn’t because of malfunctions. It’s due to you being unaccustomed to how a heat pump operates.
The outdoor unit runs when the heat pump is on
This is one bit of heat pump behavior that often confuses people new to them. A heat pump works in much the same fashion as an air conditioner. Since homeowners do not expect to have the outdoor cabinet of their air conditioner running during the winter, it will seem strange to have a heat pump’s cabinet running in the cold weather.
But this is simply the way that the heat pump provides heat in the first place. In the summer, a heat pump removes heat from the indoors and deposits it outdoors. When winter arrives, the heat pump switches the direction it works, drawing heat from the outdoors and releasing indoors. The outside cabinet’s blower fan and compressor must run to do this.
There’s smoke coming from the outdoor unit
This seems more alarming. You don’t want to see smoke coming off of any mechanical device. However, what you’re seeing in this case is almost certainly not smoke, but water vapor. This is part of the defrost cycle that protects the heat pump’s outdoor coil from freezing over. As the heat pump draws warmth from the outdoor air, it also causes water moisture to condense along the refrigerant coil. To prevent this ice from slowing down the absorption of heat, the system will occasionally switch to a defrost mode to heat up the coil and melt the ice. This creates water vapor that you might mistake for smoke.
Of course, your heat pump may run into actual malfunctions during the winter. If you notice a drop in heating in your house, contact our repair specialists right away and they’ll get to the bottom of the problem.
Contact Bud Matthews Services for all your home service needs in Durham, NC and the surrounding areas.
“Many heartfelt thanks to the people I talked with on the phone late this afternoon who were concerned enough to send Pat over to check on our frozen pipes and dripping shower. Pat was so kind and professional and fixed...”
“Bud, I want to send my thanks to your company and especially to Scott. He got into more than he bargained for on our project yesterday. He went out and got different parts and went the extra mile to make...”
“They were professional, honest, and cleaned-up after their work, and even took the shop-vacuum around the living room for good measure (we have a GSD - say no more)! Nice folks.”
“Bud Mathew responded to our call even though it was made during the weekend. Plumber came to the house, identified the problem, gave us a temporary fix and suggested we wait until Monday to fix it. (That saved us some...”
“They replaced a number of parts in my old Maytag dryer. It has been very reliable for 26 years and I want to keep it rather than buy a new one. Works great now!”
“Repair people were punctual and cordial. They troubleshot a problem, trying different approaches when the first try didn't work to clear the line. They explained everything they were doing as they did it while we watched. They were very efficient...”
“We were very happy with the process and outcome. Noah was very responsive. If he couldn't answer his phone when I called, he quickly returned calls. Everyone was very polite and respectful. They did a great job. Noah made good...”
“They fixed my LG Front Load Washing Machine, which was leaking. They also helped me level it properly. They were on time, they provided clear estimates, they were professional, and they clearly explained every step of the process to me...”