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Help! My Heat Pump Is Smoking!


Hey there everybody! How is 2017 shaping up for you so far? There’s one thing I can tell for certain about what’s coming up in these first few months of the New Year: cold weather. It’s a bit warm for winter right now, but we all know that won’t last.

And when the temperature drops, that’s when our hard-working team at MK Russell & Abbott starts putting in extra work to make sure that our great customers stay warm. We’re ready to come out and help repair your furnace or heat pump and make sure your family keeps cozy until the spring thaw.

There are a few heating emergencies, however, that actually aren’t emergencies. While our technicians are busy helping out with heating troubles, I’d like to give you some helpful info on something that looks like an emergency—but probably isn’t.

Why Your Heat Pump Is Smoking

I know this looks bad. You don’t want to see any type of mechanical device giving off smoke! But you don’t need to panic. If you were a dog like me, and had my fine sense of smell, you would immediately recognize that what’s billowing from your outdoor heat pump cabinet isn’t smoke at all—it’s water vapor.

What’s going on? Just the standard workings of a heat pump during cold weather. You see, a heat pump provides your home with heat by drawing thermal energy (that’s a cute phrase for “heat” that I like to use now and then) from the outdoor air and transporting it indoors. But the outdoor coil collects moisture while this happens, and when it’s cold enough outside the moisture will freeze. The coil can’t do its job when it’s frozen over, so occasionally the heat pump will go into a defrost mode to melt off the ice by sending heat out of the coil. The ice melts, turns into vapor, and presto! there’s that “smoke” coming from your heat pump.

Now that I’ve got you relaxed a bit, I’ll remind you that any time your heat pump starts to fall down on the job of delivering a warm indoors, only call on pros to fix it. Our great team knows how to take care of heat pumps in all kinds of weather!

Stay warm,