Do you have a heat pump? Have you ever seen steam or what looked like smoke coming from it during cold weather? If so, you’re not alone. This can often look very strange and alarming.
A heat pump is just an air conditioner working in reverse. In the cold weather it picks up heat from the outside air (yes, you read that right…the very cold refrigerant absorbs heat from the warmer outside air and brings it inside). Since this requires very low temperatures, the outside unit will often begin to freeze…this is normal. To combat the freezing, the heat pump goes into what’s called defrost mode. The outside fan turns off, the indoor heating elements turn on, and the unit goes into air conditioning mode to heat the outside unit (heat pump). As the outside unit heats up, steam or smoke seem to coming from it. Again, this is 100% normal and required for it to function properly.
So, next time you see your outside unit operating, with the fan not running, and steam coming from it…that’s probably normal. Give it a few minutes and it’ll go back into normal mode. If for some reason it doesn’t go back into normal operation, it’s not heating your home, or the outside unit turns into a block of ice, give us a call…this isn’t normal. We’d love to answer any questions you have…call us at 334-790-0977.