My unit sometimes stops outside and it looks like smoke is coming from it, it still heats well. I was told this is normal is this true?
Karen from Ocean Springs, MS
If your unit is a heat pump, you have no worries. A Heat Pump has to defrost just like your household refrigerator. So while it may look like smoke, it is only steam caused by the system performing a defrost cycle. You don’t see the steam caused by your refrigerator’s defrost cycle because of the cabinetry which covers the working parts. However, it still performs a defrost cycle twice a day, every day of the year, unnoticed. Because your heat pump is outside, where it defrosts in the open atmosphere, you see the steam.
A heat pump should defrost approximately every 90 minutes of its accumulative heat cycle run time and only if its defrost temperature set point is met. You will generally catch a heat pump defrosting in the early morning hours after a cold night. It is normal to see frost on your outdoor heat pump section; however, it is NOT normal to see a buildup of ice. Also, if you see frosting streaks, that is intermittent frost lines, you may need service.
If your system is NOT heating your home, you can use the Emergency Heat Mode or Em. Heat on your thermostat until you can have service preformed. Emergency Heat Mode should only be used for temporary heat mainly due to high operating costs of this mode. Heat pumps are a very efficient method to heat/ cool your home if installed and used properly. Proper use should include regular service by an N.A.T.E. certified dealer. If you have a concern about your heating system, please give us a call for service at 228-832-9457.
Do I have to have someone check my heater every year before I can use it?
My first answer is no. However, we find every year there are those who take the time to prepare for winter and those, for all our human reasons, (you fill in the blank), that will wait until the first good hard freeze to find out their heating system doesn’t work properly.
If you have a fairly young heating system and have not had any problems with it in the past, then I would turn it on for 5 to 10 minutes BEFORE IT GETS COLD, to make sure it works. You can always schedule your checkup later in the season.
If you have an older system or have had problems in the past, I recommend a checkup early in the season, before it gets cold.
If you have a gas furnace I recommend scheduling a checkup before the season.
If you have electric strip heat you can turn it on NOW and let the dust burn off, if it appears to be working fine, you can wait until later in the season for a checkup.
If you have a heat pump and it cooled well this past summer with no problems, it is recommended that you wait until the weather is much cooler, so we can properly perform a thorough checkup. If it did not cool well, then chances are, it will not heat properly, so you should call for service as soon as possible.
Everyone, please go turn on your heat for 5 – 10 minutes today and make sure it works.
You can then decide whether you need to schedule a checkup now or later using the guidelines I have provided. The first cold snap is just around the corner; call your loved ones to make sure they are ready too.
If you have no heat or would like to schedule a planned checkup please give us a call at 832-9457.