Is Your Heat Pump Behaving Normally?
Every winter when temperatures dip below 40 degrees in Austin, Round Rock or Cedar Park, Texas, BlueAir starts getting calls about heat pumps. Heat pumps act in some alarming ways if you don’t understand how they work.
At very cold temperatures your outdoor heat pump condenser will frost over. That is perfectly normal and the heat pump will act to take care of that. A reversing valve in your unit will cause it to go into a defrost cycle to remove the frost. When it goes into defrost mode you will hear a loud ‘pshwoo’ sound – a quick pressure release sound. You will also likely see a burst of steam being emitted. It will also be normal for the outdoor fan not to be spinning. And, it is normal for there to be some moisture on the concrete slab around your heat pump.
Another thing you will notice in very cold temperatures is that you unit will run almost all the time and never seem to get to the temperature that you desire. A heat pump heats your house by transferring heat from outside to the inside of your house. When it is very cold out, it doesn’t work well. If that is happening you might want to switch your unit to emergency heat. Emergency heat uses electric heat strips to warm you house instead of the heat pump. Your bill will be higher but your house will heat better.
A thick clear sheet of ice on your outdoor heat pump is not normal. This can occur when your unit is not going into defrost mode properly. It can also occur when rain or runoff from your roof collects on the heat pump and overwhelms its ability to defrost properly. If that happens, turn the unit to emergency heat and call a BlueAir technician.
Maintenance Is Important
Heat pumps are technically more complicated than a standard a/c system. They use refrigerant year round, not just in cooling, so it is important that they have the proper refrigerant charge all year.
At BlueAir we recommend having a heat pump maintenance twice a year – so your system will be working at maximum efficiency both in Winter and Summer. To schedule a heat pump maintenance with a trained, experienced BlueAir technician call us at 512-257-8423.