How to Transition Your Heat Pump for Winter

Cold family under blanket, worried about their heat pump being used for first time. Air-Ton Heating & Air Conditioning blog image.

It seems like every year now Texas homeowners are dealing with extreme cold weather conditions. A heat pump is a great way to keep you and your family comfortable when it happens. Once the burst of winter weather is gone, you can simply go back to using it to cool your Houston home.

However, this might be the first time using it to warm your home. If that is the case, our Air-Ton Heating & Air Conditioning team wants to help you make this transition safely and effectively.

How Does a Heat Pump Work

Instead of generating heat by burning a fuel like natural gas, a heat pump simply moves the heat from one location to another. Essentially, it operates just like an air conditioner but has the capability to perform the action in both directions.

Air conditioners do not create cooled air. Instead, a constantly moving refrigerant absorbs heat from inside your home, pumps it to the outdoor unit, and releases the heat outside. The result is a lower indoor temperature. A heat pump can work as an air conditioner in the summer.

During the winter, the heat pump takes heat from the outside air, which is possible even in cold outdoor temperatures, and releases that heat inside to warm your Houston living space.

According to the US Department of Energy (DOE), a heat pump can reduce your electricity by up to 50 percent over conventional furnace systems, saving you in energy costs.

Homeowner Maintenance To-Do List

When dealing with a surprise winter blast, it’s important to think about conducting some basic home heat pump maintenance. These simple steps will help ensure your system is ready for cold weather.

First, replace your air filter. Most filters should be replaced every three months. This can help improve your heat pump’s efficiency and operation as well as your home’s indoor air quality. Then, take a look at the outside unit and be sure you cut down and remove weeds or other growth within two or three feet, so your heat pump has plenty of air circulation.

It’s a good idea to get your coils cleaned if you haven’t already.  The cold weather makes it much harder. Also, flush and clean out your drain line and prime the trap if needed. If your heat pump uses electric heat, look for any wire damage or discoloration.

Finally, check your thermostat settings and adjust accordingly.

Professional Maintenance To-Do List

If you’ve completed your homeowner checklist for transitioning your heat pump, it’s time to call in our professionals, so it’s running at the highest efficiency levels. Our heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) team will provide a complete inspection, cleaning, and tune-up at an affordable price that will ultimately save you stress, time, and money on repairs later in the season.

A professional will also check and adjust refrigerant levels in your heat pump. Only a professional can add coolant and repair leaks correctly.

If you noticed any potential electrical problems, a trained technician can repair exposed wiring or loose connections. Your blower motor should be oiled, and its wheels should be inspected for balance. Finally, your evaporator coils should be checked and cleaned during this visit.

Protect Your Heat Pump During Shoulder Seasons

When nights tend to be cold and days warmer, it can get tricky to use your heat pump effectively. In some cases, switching between the heating and air conditioning modes can lead to an overworked system and related problems.

Your heat pump uses a great deal of energy to turn on and off, and switching constantly between heating and cooling can result in short-cycling types of issues like tripping the circuit breaker.

If your heat pump is in air conditioner mode, and your thermostat is set to cooling, your outdoor condensing unit will be working. If the set-point temperature is set higher to turn off the cooling function and then moved lower due to a need for heat, it can lock up the compressor. The same problem can occur in heating mode as well.

Some heat pumps incorporate a digital thermostat or an anti-short-cycling trigger to prevent this problem. However, you can also be sure you give your system a five-minute break if you’re switching between cooling and heating as the winter weather creeps into Texas.

Call Us With Any Heat Pump Needs

When you’re ready for your professional maintenance service call on your heat pump, contact Air-Ton Heating & Air Conditioning in Houston, TX, to schedule an appointment. We’d be happy to come out to perform a comprehensive inspection, cleaning, and tune-up. Or if you find you need a repair or replacement, we will help you there as well. Call 713-661-2760 or request service online today.

Need HVAC Service?

Contact the experts at Air-Ton Heating & AC.

Call us at (713) 661-2760!

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