Heat pumps are designed to keep you warm and cozy during the winters. Even though they tend to develop problems as they age, but in some cases, you might observe some steam coming out of the heat pump. You might wonder if you need heat pump repair. Let’s dig a bit deeper and discuss what it actually is about.
The Defrost Cycle Of The Heat Pump
To understand why your heat pump might be producing steam, it is important that you first become aware of its basics. A heat pump runs more or less like an air conditioner. It includes two sets of coils, one indoors and the other, outdoors. The refrigerant tends to evaporate in one coil that absorbs the heat and then condenses in the other to release heat.
This means that the heat during the winter season is absorbed by the outdoor coil. At the same time, as the refrigerant evaporates in the outdoor coil, it leads to the production of moisture in the air to form along with the coil. If you have ever come across the sound of water dripping inside the air conditioners in the summer season, this is exactly what it is. However, the question is what happens when moisture forms on the outdoor coil.
If you say, it freezes, then this can be a problem with the heat pump. The reason is that a layer of ice will form on the outdoor unit of the heat pump, which will make it a bit difficult for the heat pump to draw heat from the air. Luckily, the heat pump is built keeping this problem in view. The heat pump will switch to defrost mode automatically if it senses such a problem.
It’s Not Smoke, It’s Steam
Some people tend to panic as soon as they see steam coming out believing that it is smoke and something is burning. As you know, steam is odorless, however, if it has a burning smell for a reason, then you need to panic. Immediately, turn off the unit and call a professional.
Even though it is very rare for heat pumps to give off smoke, but not impossible.
Is This Your First Winter With A Heat Pump?
Some people tend to panic watching what looks like smoke coming out from their heat pumps since it is their first winter using the unit. If you have recently installed a heat pump, this might be your first time witnessing steam coming out from the heat pump.
You do not need to panic as it is the heat pump simply doing its job. It is going through a defrost cycle, which is a part of the operation that does not occur in the cooling mode.
Heat pumps are not designed to burn or smoke. With that said, if you observe smoke coming out, it might be due to some other components. For instance, the fan might be under stress. If there is something stuck between the fan blades, the motor will run but the blades won’t rotate.
As a result, the motor will heat up and might catch fire. In addition to that, if the coils tend to be covered by dirt, shrubs, and debris, they can overheat as well. However, the chances of catching fire are fairly low.
This means that your heat pump should be properly maintained to prevent such types of mishaps. Heat pumps can easily last for years until they need replacement. However, some people tend to ignore their maintenance. In such a case, the overall lifespan of the HVAC unit will decrease and you will end up with expensive repairs.
How To Maintain A Heat Pump?
Maintaining a heat pump is as important as looking after all the other essential home appliances that you use on a daily basis. You should perform a weekly inspection and clear any dust and dirt accumulation. However, if you are not aware of the basics, it is better to consult a professional.
In the end, it is most probably steam coming out from your heat pump and not smoke. However, you should keep an eye out on such things as you can miss out on serious problems and only let experts from HVAC companies McLean inspect the unit. Because surviving the winters without a heat pump can be a nightmare.