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A Few Things to Know Running Your Heat Pump in Winter

Dog on Ice

Did you welcome a new addition to your house during the last year—a heat pump? Congratulations! We’re all fans of heat pumps around here, especially the Onyx models we install, which are ideally suited for the winters in East Tennessee. 

But if this is your first winter with a heat pump, there are a couple of things I’d like you to know. If you’ve already run it during the summer, you noticed it didn’t act any different than an AC. That’s just as it should be! But as you change the heat pump over to heating mode for winter, there are a few differences to get used to. After all, a heat pump isn’t a furnace and doesn’t provide heat the same way. Here’s “Olive’s List of Useful Things to Know” about your heat pump in winter.

Yes, it needs maintenance for winter

A heat pump is a single system, but unlike an AC or furnace, which only works for one stretch of the year, a heat pump works most of the year. It needs a maintenance tune-up from our pros for both winter and summer work. If you haven’t scheduled this winter tune-up yet, don’t delay: sign up for our Comfort Club and we’ll get it done ASAP.

A smoking heat pump? Nope, it’s just letting off steam

This one I hear people ask about a lot—and I’m glad to have a calming answer. Nobody wants to see smoke coming from a device in their house (except a fireplace, and you want the smoke to go up the chimney and no place else) or outside of it. During a cold day, you might see smoke blowing off the heat pump when it’s running and get worried. But … it’s not smoke. It’s steam from the defrost mode the heat pump occasionally shifts into. To keep a heat pump from developing frost on its coils, which would make it harder for it to do its job, the system will periodically switch over to release heat through the coils to melt the ice. This creates steam. Your heat pump takes special steps to do the best job for you.

Learn how best to set your thermostat

You’re going to have to make a bit of an adjustment when it comes to programming the thermostat to run the heat pump optimally for winter, since it’s different from a furnace. The important thing to remember is that the heat pump draws heat from outside your home, while a furnace generates it. Our team can help you understand the most effective way to set the thermostat for the best heat pump winter results. 

Still gotta change that air filter!

No matter the season, no matter the mode, your heat pump needs a reasonably clean air filter to let it properly move air and keep out debris. If you remembered to change the air filter regularly through the summer, don’t slow down now! You’ll need to change the filter during winter with the same frequency. 

If you encounter problems and think you need heat pump repair in Knoxville, TN, we’re here to help. You can ask us basic questions as well when you’ve got trouble—we want you to enjoy your new heat pump to the fullest!

Stay warm,