Heat pumps are very efficient heaters in the winter. It’s no wonder that more people are switching over to them when upgrading their HVAC systems. However, if you’ve used a furnace your whole life, you might not expect some of these differences that can cause you to think the heat pump is having an issue.
If your heat pump is suddenly blowing room-temp or cold air, it could be going through a defrost cycle.
Your heat pump’s outdoor unit will face plenty of abuse from the weather and the cold air. If that air becomes cold enough to freeze the components on the unit, have no fear: the heat pump will be able to shut itself off and enter a defrost cycle. It takes about fifteen minutes for the cycle to complete. In the meantime, it may result in cold air blowing through your home. If the defrost cycle hasn’t finished after about thirty minutes, it could be time to call in a heating repair service in Ontario, CA!
You might be thinking how unlikely it is that a heat pump could freeze over in our Southern California weather. However, keep in mind that heat pump operation can make it run about 10 degrees colder than the outdoor air. On a particularly chilly night, that could be enough to push it over into freezing. Add in rain or morning dew and it could be enough to develop frost on the unit’s sensitive components.
Cooling vs. Heating Mode
Basic heat pump operation includes a cooling and heating mode. There have been many times where a homeowner has forgotten to switch their heat pump from cooling mode to heating mode at the end of summer. This can cause them to believe that the heat pump or their thermostat is malfunctioning.
It Doesn’t Feel Hot Enough
If you’ve never owned a heat pump before, you may not be used to how they operate. In general, heat pumps blow air less intensely than furnaces. This might lead you to believe that the heat pump is not operating properly. In reality, the heat pump blows air through the home more evenly, and with better efficiency than a gas furnace.
Using Emergency Heating on Accident
If a homeowner doesn’t feel the heat like they think they should, this could cause them to switch on the emergency heating mode, but this is a big mistake. The emergency heating mode will shut off the normal heat pump functions and switch to a mode of heating that uses electrical resistance only. Using the emergency heating mode for too long can be very expensive.
Another reason a homeowner might switch to the emergency heating mode is that they’ve mistaken it with the auxiliary heating mode. Auxiliary heating uses electrical resistance heating, but only as a supplement to help the heat pump through very cold temperatures. Regardless, our Ontario climate will rarely ever drop low enough to warrant auxiliary heating (and even then, it will come on automatically, so you won’t need to worry about activating it!).