Tips For Your First Winter With A Heat Pump

As a homeowner going through your first winter with a heat pump, it's important that you understand what to expect. After all, heat pumps aren't your typical HVAC system. Since your heat pump may surprise you with some of the things that happen during cold weather, it's important to be familiar with its operation. Here are a few things you should know now before the cold weather leaves you confused or concerned.

There's Always Some Heat In The Air

Even when the temperature drops below freezing, there's still some heat in the air for your heat pump to extract. The only thing you may notice is that your heat pump will lose some of its general efficiency when the temperature outside dips below freezing. You may find that it's more effective to have a backup heating source that you can engage when the temperatures get this cold, because it will help ease the strain on the pump and reduce the risk of burnout. Gas heating is the most common option for this alternative heat source, because it is highly efficient.

Heat Pumps Will Cycle Into Self-Defrost

Any time you're running a heat pump in the winter, you're going to have some ice accumulation on the pump. This can be damaging to the heat pump if it's allowed to continue growing. That's why most every heat pump is outfitted with a self-defrost mode. It will automatically enter this mode when the pump starts to ice up, reversing the way it operates briefly. This process only lasts a short time in most cases, and then the heat pump will return to its normal operation. Although the defrost mode is normal and will run automatically, it shouldn't run excessively. If your heat pump goes into self-defrost mode frequently or it stays in that mode for a long time, that's cause for concern. Since that deviates from the typical pump operation, you should reach out to an HVAC technician about it as soon as possible.

Heat Pumps Rely On Clean Air

Especially if you get snow where you are, it's important that you clear out the area around the heat pump. The more proactive you are about keeping the area clear, the more consistent the airflow will be. That airflow is essential to proper pump operation, so don't dismiss the importance of this.

You will also have to make sure that you keep the air filters in your pump clean. A clogged or dirty air filter will impede the airflow into and out of the pump, preventing the system from working at its best. The frequency of filter replacement will vary based on how much you use the heat pump and the environmental factors around your home. Check it regularly to make sure that it's clear and replace it as needed.

Heat Pumps Need Maintenance

In order to keep your heat pump functioning properly, you have to maintain it. Start by having your HVAC technician show you how to optimize your heat pump use for the winter weather. They'll know your general climate best and can tell you how best to handle your pump through the changing temperatures. In addition, he or she can tell you how often you should schedule routine maintenance for your heat pump. Usually, you'll need to have it inspected and cared for once a year, but you may need to do it more often if your system sees a lot of demand.

Don't let the cold temperatures leave you with insufficient heat. Understanding these things will help you to take the best care of your heat pump through this winter. In addition, working with an experienced HVAC technician at companies like West County Heating and Cooling is also beneficial for the longest possible lifespan.