A heat pump relies on a refrigerant and coil system to pull heat in from the environment. It condenses that heat and distributes it through your house. If you're new to using a heat pump in your home, it's important that you understand some of the things that set these heating systems apart from traditional furnaces. Here are a few of the things you should keep in mind.
Their Heat Feels Different from Furnace Heat
Don't assess the heat output of the heat pump in the same manner that you do a traditional furnace. The heat feels different from a heat pump because it doesn't pass through a burner or heating chamber like it would with a standard furnace. That heating chamber generates more intense heat in the air, which can make that air feel hotter on your skin.
The air that comes from your heat pump is warmed more gently, so it doesn't feel as intensely hot to the touch. This may lead you to believe that your heat pump isn't working right. Despite the milder feeling to the air, heat pumps do actually warm the space. When you evaluate the heat pump's function, consider the ambient temperature of the area, not how the actual heated air feels to the touch.
You Might Need a Backup Heat System
For a heat pump to operate at its best and most efficient, the outside temperatures should be above 40 degrees Fahrenheit. While it will continue to work when temperatures are much colder, it won't produce as much heat. If you live in an area where the temperatures reach freezing, you'll have to install an alternative backup heat system for emergency use.
Backup heat systems can be traditional oil-burning furnaces. They are designed to keep your home warm even when the heat pump cannot keep up. In most systems, you can set your thermostat to automatically engage the backup heat system when the temperatures reach a certain level. This is sometimes called the "emergency heat" setting, and it should only be used when the heat pump really can't handle heating your home. Try to avoid using this setting yourself; let the thermostat switch to it when it senses the need.
If your backup heat doesn't seem to be engaging properly, try manually engaging the system, and if it activates, that's a sign that you need to install a new thermostat. If the backup heating system doesn't engage, you'll need to have the system itself evaluated by an HVAC technician.
You'll Need to Monitor the Fans
Heat pumps rely on a set of fans to force the warm air into your home. You'll want to make sure that those fans are working at all times. If the fans seem to be intermittent or you feel as though the air coming in is insufficient, you'll want to assess the electrical supply to those fans. Start by turning the temperature up on the thermostat so that you warm the room more. This should engage the heat pump. If you don't hear the fan engage, check the circuit breaker for your heat pump. Try resetting the breaker to clear the power supply if possible. If that doesn't fix it, you'll need to have the pump itself serviced.
Heat pumps are a great way to keep your home's temperature consistent through the cold weather season. Keeping it functioning at its best means understanding the fundamentals of how it works and what makes it such a unique option. Especially when you're used to fuel-burning heat as a primary source, this can be challenging. With these tips and the guidance of your ductless heat pump technician, you'll be able to optimize your new heating system and keep your home comfortable.