Now that it’s cold in the evenings and especially the early mornings, many of us are turning on the heat. While Phoenix is known for its stifling desert heat, freezing temperatures are not unheard of. If you do not have gas in your home you most likely have a heat pump heating system. When is gets really cold our heat pumps are designed to go into a defrost cycle. Understanding your heat pump’s defrost cycle will help you know when something is wrong or if it’s running properly. After all, we don’t want to worry about being able to warm those feet before they hit the ground running in the morning.
Because of the colder temperatures outside, the outdoor coil on your heat pump is cold which can cause frost to form on the coil, which then blocks air movement through it. In order to remove the frost, the heat pump first detects the buildup of ice on the outdoor coil, then it essentially puts itself into cooling to make the outdoor coil hot and defrost the ice.
When the heat pump detects the ice has melted, it terminates the defrost mode and starts to heat normally. A heat pump running in defrost cycle will have a few tell-tale signs. The fan may blow cold air into your home instead of warm. Other signs your heat pump may be in defrost cycle include the fact that the outside unit is humming, but the fan outside is not running. There may also be steam or smoke outside and water is around the unit or on the roof.
If you witness any of these symptoms, simply leave the unit on and let it run for 15-20 minutes. The unit must run in order to complete the defrost cycle. If the symptoms persist after the unit has run for 15-20 minutes, call John’s and we will send out one of our N.A.T.E. Certified Service Consultants to help. We pride ourselves on being your year-round indoor comfort providers.