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Some Winter Behavior You May See from Your Heat Pump

Heat pumps are becoming more popular with each year. Because of advances in the technology of heat pumps, they are more effective in colder weather than ever before, making them an option for places with often extremely chilly winters like Chicago.

This might be your first winter with a heat pump. You may have had one installed in spring or summer, or you may have moved into a new house that uses a heat pump. There is some behavior from a heat pump during the winter that you may not be used to and can lead you to believing that there’s a malfunction with it. Most of these behaviors actually aren’t problems. Here are the two most common:

The outside unit is running during cold weather

This is a misunderstanding of how heat pumps operate. They work the same way that air conditioners do, except they can reverse the direction they move heat. This means the outdoor unit must run during cold weather in order to pull in heat from the outside. People who are accustomed to an AC are used to hearing only the indoor blower running in winter, not the outside motor and fan. But it’s completely normal.

There’s smoke coming from the outdoor unit

Don’t worry, it’s probably not smoke but water vapor. The outside coil of the heat pump absorbs moisture along it during heating mode, and that moisture will freeze in cold temperatures. To prevent this, the heat pump will periodically switch in to a defrost mode where the coil heats up to melt the frost. This turns into the water vapor that you’re seeing.

If you notice other strange activity with your heat pump aside from these two, it’s best to give our specialists a call to see if the heat pump needs repairs. We’re here 24 hours to assist you.

Brilliant Electric Heating & Cooling offers heat pump services and many other heating services to help you stay warm during the winter. Servicing Park Ridge, IL and the rest of Chicagoland since 1956.

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