Top Heat Pump Issues Homeowners Experience In Winter

image of a homeowner feeling chilly due to heat pump not reaching heat setting

Heat pumps are modern heating alternatives to traditional HVAC systems. They use electricity instead of a combustible fuel source, like most furnaces or boilers. Flames are unnecessary. During winter, they produce heat by working like air conditioners in reverse. Refrigerant gathers heat outdoors and releases it indoors. After a while, you will no longer need a blanket to warm up. Homeowners are switching to heat pumps because of their high efficiency and reliability. However, a heat pump in winter can also encounter problems, just like other heating systems. Read on to know what could happen and what you can do about them. Professional HVAC contractors can also provide additional information and HVAC service assistance.

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Top Heat Pump Issues Homeowners Experience in Winter

What is winter like in your area? Some places have it mild that they barely need to use a heater. Others deal with thick snow on their roof and on the ground every day. They require a strong heating system to ward off the cold. Many enjoy a moderate climate that makes winter bearable with the right equipment. Heat pumps work best with safe zones. If the temperature shifts in your area are mild to moderate, these will probably serve you well throughout the year. If your unit is struggling in any way, call an expert to evaluate the situation. Below are the most common concerns:

1. Inadequate Heat Pump Heating

image of a space heater

Furnaces can generate massive amounts of heat, making them suitable for harsh winters. Heat pumps are not as intense. It may confuse new owners, but it is a normal feature of the machine. The good news is that heat pumps can provide better heat distribution across a home. They can operate for longer periods while sustaining their output. You can expect uniform temperature and air delivery throughout the day. If you experience an unusually harsh winter day, you may need to use a space heater or other supplementary heating device in tandem with the heat pump.

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2. Frozen Outdoor Heat Pump Unit

frozen heat pump in winter

Outdoor units may get cold, but they should not freeze. Do a visual inspection from time to time. If you see ice around it, you need to act fast. Ice can block airflow and prevent normal function. It can even cause long-term damage if left uncorrected. A thin layer of ice could melt away on its own. However, thick ice that remains for extended periods will require intervention. Heat pumps have a built-in defrost feature. It can run automatically or be forced manually. The problem should go away within ten to fifteen minutes. Use a supplemental heat source while defrosting your heat pump. If your outdoor heat pump unit keeps freezing over, call a technician for a permanent solution.

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3. Nonstop Heat Pump Operation

Heat pumps run several cycles until they reach the desired temperature. After that, they stop and wait for conditions to change before turning on again. If the unit is constantly running, it might be chasing after a temperature setting that it can’t reach. Perhaps cold air is leaking into the home and preventing the interiors from getting hot enough. Close all the doors and windows. Use weatherstripping to stop air leaks. You may also need to improve your wall and attic insulation. Experts can perform a thorough inspection and present viable solutions based on your budget.

Related Article: Top Reasons Your Heat Pump Won’t Turn Off

4. Cold Air from HVAC Vents

image of a homeowner placing hands in front of hvac air vent to check for airflow

If you place your hand near the vents, you should feel hot air coming out. If you feel cold air instead, something is wrong with the system. Perhaps the air is not circulating well because of blocked paths. Open all vents and registers in the home. You can also check whether someone placed the heat pump on defrost mode. In this case, you will simply have to wait for the process to finish in a few minutes. Things should return to normal then. If the problem persists, it’s time to get professional help.

5. Heat Pump Drip

Moisture can gather inside the heat pump, mainly due to condensation. The same thing happens in air conditioners. The beads of water should drop down to a drain pan and move all the way out of the system. If you see water dripping from the unit, drainage is not working as it should. Perhaps the system is overwhelmed by snow or rain from a storm. See if it stops after a while. It could also be running on an uneven surface, causing the unit to rock back and forth. Water can spill out instead of flowing smoothly down the prescribed path. Find a way to flatten the surface.

Related Article: Heat Pump Never Reaches Good Temperature In Cold Weather

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6. Nonfunctional Heat Pump Unit

A heat pump can run around the clock, automatically sensing whether to bring in more heat or not. If you find your unit suddenly turned off, you need to investigate the cause. Maybe someone wanted to save energy by manually shutting it down. You should also check the plug or the breaker. Reset and see if it comes back on again. If you have an old heat pump, this might be due to a faulty component. The only way to be sure is to let a technician have a look at it and find the exact culprit.

Related Article: Heat Pump Compressor Not Turning On

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Awareness brings relief. If you know the top heat pump issues, you can take steps to prevent them. You can also deal with them swiftly when they come. At the very least, you can recognize the symptoms and report them to your most trusted HVAC technicians. They will use your input for effective HVAC troubleshooting. You and your family can enjoy a faster return to normalcy.

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