If you are a new heat pump owner, you may be surprised that the heat generated by these systems isn’t as strong as the heat generated by furnaces, heat pump not heating enough in Winter? This is normal. While the heat may not be as intense, heat pumps generally distribute heat more evenly throughout the home.
They will run longer and at a more sustained level, meaning less turning on and off and no more cold/hot spots and strong gusts of air.
Due to the difficulty in extracting heat from very cold outdoor environments, some heat pump owners need a supplemental heating system to feel comfortable. Many people supplement heat pumps with space heaters or some sort of adapted furnace, boiler, or oil burner system. Speak with the heating professionals at Linsam if you are not receiving enough heat from your heat pump.
What to do when your outdoor condensing unit is iced up?
If your outdoor condensing unit is iced up, airflow will be severely restricted, resulting in a struggling unit that may end up causing severe damage. If there is light ice, it should go away soon, but if the ice remains for a significant period of time, it’s a problem you want to address quickly.
The most common solution to a frozen heat pump is running the defrost cycle. It normally turns on automatically at timed intervals or when the unit detects frost, however, some systems have a defrost option. The defrost cycle basically reverses the heat pump into air conditioning mode so that it can pump heat to the outdoor unit until it unfreezes. Don’t worry, the defrost cycle only runs for around 10-15 minutes.
Since you don’t want cold air blowing on the coldest of days, many heat pump owners opt for a supplemental heat system. This usually means electric resistance heat strips, which keep the air warm. After around 15 minutes, the heat strips will turn off and the heat pump will come back on.
If you are outside when the heat pump goes into defrost mode and reverses the refrigerant flow, it may sound as if something is wrong with your unit. Don’t worry, it’s just the defrost cycle.
If the defrost cycle isn’t thawing your iced over heat pump, try these steps:
- Check the air filter and replace if needed. Clean air filters improve airflow as well as indoor air quality.
- Make sure there is no large debris near the unit that may be preventing airflow. Always maintain a minimum 2-foot clearance around the entire unit. Periodically trim back encroaching plants and clean your outdoor heat pump unit.
- If there is no air flowing from your vents, you may have a malfunctioning blower motor. Try setting the thermostat to “fan” to see if the blower motor or some related component is at fault.
- If the indoor blower assembly is working, the outdoor condensing fan motor may be the culprit. Make sure your heat pump is on and then check the outdoor condenser unit—the fan should kick on.
The buildup of ice on your condenser unit is never a good sign. If the solutions above do not work, prevent any further damage to your unit by contacting a professional right away.