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Winter Heat Pump Problems That Aren’t As Alarming As You Think

Jan 3, 2017
Winter Heat Pump Problems | Nelson Comfort

Many Cincinnati homeowners made the switch to heat pump systems over the past year for improved efficiency and dual heating and cooling. Heat pumps offer superior comfort and energy savings, but they operate differently than furnaces.

If this is your first winter season heating your Cincinnati home with a heat pump, it’s smart to familiarize yourself with a few heat pump traits. The traits mentioned below can seem like major issues, but they are actually just a part of normal system operation. If you experience these issues, know that your heat pump is working properly and there is no need for alarm.

Exterior unit is running over the winter

Heat pumps operate similar to an air conditioner, pulling excess heat out of the home to cool it, but with the capability to heat the home, too, unlike an air conditioner. Because of the similarity, so many people expect the heat pump to act as an air conditioner does – and the exterior air conditioner definitely does not run during the winter!

Heat pumps on the other hand, do run the exterior unit in the winter. The outdoor coil pulls in heat from the surrounding outdoor air and moves it indoors. It is expected that the outdoor unit will be running over the winter – if it doesn’t, that’s a problem you should call for help with.

The outdoor unit is smoking

While the outdoor heat pump unit operates in cold conditions, it may appear that smoke is rising from the cabinet. Smoke from any appliance is quite alarming to homeowners, so we understand the concern.

The “smoke” that you see is actually not smoke at all. It’s water vapor, which develops during the defrost cycle. The moisture along the outdoor coil freezes when it’s cold out; for the heat pump to operate correctly, it will defrost the coil, melting ice and creating the water vapor you see.

If you have other issues with your Cincinnati heat pump that require professional repair, give Nelson Comfort a call right away. Our NATE-certified heat pump technicians are skilled in diagnosing system issues and providing reliable repairs to keep your heat pump working correctly all season long.

About The Author

Dan Detmer
Dan Detmer is the owner of Nelson Comfort. Dan was born into the heating and cooling industry, coming from a family of well respected HVAC contractors in Dayton, Ohio. After working in the family business, Dan decided to work for a local HVAC wholesale business helping local contractors grow their business. When he felt his heart moving him back into the residential and light commercial business, Dan joined the Mortimer Heating & Cooling team in Cincinnati, where he had called home and become part of the community for several years. After a short period of time Dan purchased the company and created what is today, Nelson Comfort. Today he operates a company based on integrity, honesty, and stellar customer service. If you have any questions feel free to tweet (at sign) NelsonComfort and we will get right back with you!
Posted in Geothermal, Heating & Cooling

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