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Odd Things Your Heat Pump May Do in Winter

Is this your first winter using a heat pump for comfort? Whether it’s because you had the system installed in the spring to prep for summer, or you’ve moved into a house that already has a heat pump, you’ll probably run into some unusual behavior from it during the winter. Most of the time, there’s nothing wrong with the heat pump—it’s simply that you’re unaccustomed to seeing the way this type of comfort system works in cold weather.

Here are two specific heat pump winter issues that seem like repair problems… but aren’t.

Outdoor unit continues to run when it’s cold

Because a heat pump works similarly to an air conditioner, it’s easy to mistake it for an air conditioner. You don’t expect the outdoor unit of an AC to run during the winter. Only the indoor fan, which is working with the furnace, should be running.

However, a heat pump needs to have its outdoor unit running in winter in order to heat a house. The outdoor coil draws heat from the air with refrigerant, and the refrigerant then releases the heat indoors. You’ll soon get used to the outdoor unit staying active in the cold weather.

There’s smoke coming from the outdoor unit

You can relax: it’s almost certainly not smoke. It’s water vapor. What’s happening is the heat pump is switching over to its defrost cycle. It does this occasionally to eliminate any build-up of ice along the outside coil. Moisture gathers along the coil, and if the temperature is cold enough, it will freeze and block the coil from absorbing heat. The defrost cycle prevents this, and creates the water vapor you’re seeing.

If you encounter trouble with your heat pump that is affecting comfort levels indoors, then you’ll probably need repair work. Simply call our team, and we’ll see that your heat pump is fixed.

Oasis Heating, A/C & Refrigeration serves Burke, VA. Call our office today to have us help you meet your comfort needs.

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