Denton County Heating & Air Services
Heat Pumps 101: What They Are and How They Work

Heat Pumps 101: What They Are and How They Work

Heat pumps are a popular way to heat and cool homes, but do you know how they work? A basic understanding of your unit’s operation can help you determine whether something is wrong. Here, we’ll answer five of the most important questions about how heat pumps work, what’s normal and what’s not.

What Is a Heat Pump?

The function of a heat pump is to move hot air from one place to another. For example, it can absorb warmth from the sun from the air outside in winter, and then move it inside to heat your home. In the summer, it takes the hot air from inside your house and pumps it outside to keep you cooler.

How Do I Know If My Heat Pump Is Working?

If you feel only lukewarm air coming from your heating vents, your unit is still working. Unlike a conventional heating system, it does not regularly emit hot blasts of air. Instead, it emits a steady flow of gently warmed air. This keeps your home evenly and comfortably warm and helps ensure it won’t get too hot or cold.

Why Does My Unit Run for Long Periods?

This is also different from a conventional heating system but is also totally normal. Your heat pump is supposed to cycle on and off less frequently, instead running for a lengthy period. If you hear it running for a long time, it is not damaged; instead, it is operating at its highest efficiency.

Do Steam and Water Vapor Indicate a Problem?

If you see steam and water vapor around the outdoor part of your heat pump, don’t be alarmed. If frost builds up around your outdoor unit, it may restrict the airflow across the coil. In response, the unit will begin a defrost cycle, during which you may hear humming noises and see water vapor or steam around it.

What If My Heat Pump Stops Working?

If your unit stops operating, you want to switch on the “emergency heat” option on your thermostat. This switch will let you turn on supplementary heat until your unit can be repaired.

After that, it’s time to call in the experts to determine the problem. At 1st Choice Air Solutions, our expert staff can diagnose problems and solve them efficiently so that you’re not left without a functional heating system for long. Rather than wondering why your heating system is malfunctioning, contact us right away to work toward a solution.

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