This winter’s icy temperatures are likely to increase how often you see your heat pump go into defrost mode. It’s important to realize that this isn’t a problem and that your heat pump is functioning as intended. Defrost mode helps your HVAC system function more efficiently in a colder environment. Keep reading to learn more about your heat pump’s defrosting mode.

Heat Pump Defrost Mode

When your heat pump is in heating mode, it pulls heat from outside before transferring it into your home. In particularly cold and wet environments, moisture can freeze on and in your heat pump. Frost and ice make it harder for the heat pump to operate efficiently.

The defrost mode is a protective function to prevent system damage and boost heating efficiency. When this mode activates, the heat pump starts operating in reverse. Warmed refrigerant moves back into the outdoor unit to thaw the frozen coil. The fan doesn’t turn on in defrost mode in order to avoid blowing cold air into your home. Once the coil is defrosted, the heat pump switches back to heating the home as it normally would.

If you’re inside the home, you’ll notice the fan turn off. Your system can’t produce heat while defrost mode is active. Fortunately, your system’s defrost cycles are short and shouldn’t impact your indoor comfort. Defrost mode is often accompanied by a blinking light on the unit. Also, if you’re outside your home, you may hear the compressor turn on.

Defrost Mode Frequency

Heat pumps switch to defrost mode regularly during the cold seasons. While you may see your system in defrost mode during the fall and spring, it’s most common in the winter. The more heat you need inside the home, the easier it is for your system to ice over or develop frost. A defrost cycle should only last about five to 15 minutes at most. In a healthy, well-maintained system, they’ll only occur when the outside temperature is below 32 degrees.

The purpose of the defrost mode is to melt any ice or frost while remaining energy efficient. The cycles are short and often won’t be noticed by those in the home. Long and frequent defrost cycles could indicate something is going wrong in your HVAC system.

Potential Defrost Mode Problems

Defrost mode is a normal functioning process in many modern heat pumps. This function helps your system to adapt safely to its external environment. If your heat pump has been having long defrost cycles since its installation, it may be caused by a user error. Consult with the owner’s manual to ensure you’re correctly using your system. It’s also possible the heat pump may not be the right size for your home. The system may be straining to heat and cool a too large living space, leading to lengthy defrost cycles.

If you’ve recently noticed an issue with the defrost mode, you can first try switching out filters. You could also try cleaning any vegetation, snow, or ice away from your heat pump. If these things don’t work, it is time to call a professional to inspect and repair your heat pump.

Lengthy defrost cycles during the fall will only worsen when winter finally rolls around. Don’t risk struggling through the coldest months with an inconsistent heat pump. The best way to keep your heat pump efficient is by scheduling regular maintenance appointments with an HVAC technician. Your local HVAC company will thoroughly inspect your heat pump at least twice a year before summer to get ready for the heat and before winter to avoid a dangerous breakdown during freezing outdoor temperatures.

Residential and Commercial HVAC Care

Trust Medcalf Heating & Cooling with all your heat pump needs in Terre Haute, IN. Since we started in 2015, we’ve offered superior heating and cooling services that focus on your indoor comfort. We’re a family-owned business with highly qualified and experienced NATE-certified technicians. Medcalf Heating & Cooling is also EPA-certified and a proud member of the Chamber of Commerce.

Our expert team knows how to efficiently repair, maintain and install your furnace, heat pump, or air conditioner. We also have extensive experience providing reliable boiler services, indoor air quality solutions, and ductwork repairs. Don’t forget to keep our team in mind if you need emergency repair service. We make ourselves available 24/7 for our customers experiencing a serious HVAC situation. Call Medcalf Heating & Cooling today for excellent HVAC care in Terre Haute.

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