Surviving a Cold Snap!

The Northwest cold snap is about to end! It was a bit harsh…The lake near our house stayed
frozen for about two weeks lessening the available open water for the ducks
and geese who live on it, driving was a bit more treacherous than usual, and
I’m sure that a few of my plants will not be around come Spring. Such is the Nature
of Life. 

Judging by the service calls we received during the extreme temperature change, a few Ductless Heat Pumps reacted a bit differently that normal. There are a couple reasons for that. One, the
ductless heat pumps, and we, simply need time to adjust to the sudden demands
brought on by unusual temperatures for our region. The DHPs are calibrated, if
you will, for our temperate climate and the ‘effective zone’ that you’re
heating. A sudden drop in temperature may make them react in a way that you don’t expect. The DHP may need to work harder than normal; or need assistance from the backup system. If you have a backup heating system, set its thermostat at a
temperature below the ductless heat pump’s thermostat setting. Then if
backup heating is required, the existing heating system will automatically come
on to keep your house from getting too cold. With severe temperature changes,
like the ones we just experienced, you also may need to reduce the size of
the ‘effective zone’ by closing doors to unused portions of the house. But
these are temporary steps only.

 Another reason for a ductless heat pump to respond differently than normal during times of severe weather changes may be due to a condition that I call
‘Out-of-sight, Out-of-mind’. When the ductless heat pump behaves as it should
during all of the months of temperate weather, the homeowners (that includes us)
simply forget to do the regular maintenance steps that we recommend in our ‘Top
Ten Things to Know’
homeowner education sheet offered at the completion of the
install. Consider that the ductless heat pump regularly takes in air from the
outdoors to operate effectively. Keeping the coils of the indoor unit clean,
and the outdoor unit free of debris is key to keeping your ductless heat pump
‘healthy’ and able to respond under adverse conditions. In this case, if your
ductless heat pump cannot get air, it cannot produce the heat you need.
Remember, if your filters are dirty and the outside unit cannot get adequate
air, turning up the remote or thermostat will not result in increased indoor temperatures. Cleaning
is easy. 

Remember that these seasonal and severe weather adjustments
are normal. It is helpful to review the materials that were left by your
installer and refer to the troubleshooting guide in ‘Top Ten Things to Know’ to
see if you can avoid a service call. We don’t mind coming to check things out,
but to save you a bit of time, and anxiety, refer to the guide first. In case you misplaced our folder of information,
here it is in abbreviated form:

Top Ten Things to Know

  1. Read the manual
  2. Set the mode of operation (make sure it’s in
    HEAT setting, until summer, of course)
  3. Use AUTO for fan speed only
  4. Set the temperature (do not use Auto)
  5. Avoid adjusting the temperature setting-Ductless
    heat pumps adjust to changing conditions automatically.
  6. Clean the filters regularly-cannot say this
  7. Live in the zone-If you do not need to heat a
    room in your house, close the door to that room. Conversely, leave it open if
    you need to heat it.
  8. Let the heat pump work-Use it as your primary
    system, UNLESS you need to allow the backup to operate in severe conditions
    (see second paragraph above)
  9. Understand the defrost function-This is an
    automatic, and necessary function of a Ductless heat pump. It only lasts up to
    15 minutes.
  10. Get
    used to the sounds and smells of your heat pump. Although your Ductless heat
    pump is very quiet, you might hear the following normal sounds:
  • Whirring, clicking, the sound of ‘rushing fluid’
    and a sudden ‘whoosh’ sound of the compressor turning off. The outdoor unit
    will make a sort of vibrating hum while on, too.
  • Sometimes, a new smell might occur, particularly
    when the indoor unit begins to produce AC after having the winter off.

 Remember, we’ll always be here to help you. That’s who we
are…Customer first, Customer always.

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