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Indoor Air Quality?
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Some rooms are too cold!
According to the US Energy Information Administration’s Residential Energy Consumption Survey, about half of Texas homes use electricity as a heating source. Natural gas is used to heat only about 42 percent of Texas homes.
Heat pumps use the heat generated by the compressor located inside of your outdoor system, this heat gets transferred by a valve that reverses the refrigerant cycle, so instead of removing heat from your house like in cooling mode, it puts it in. An easy way to see how this works is by feeling the air that comes out from the top of your outdoor system, in the cooling season, the air is about 10 degrees warmer than the ambient temperature and in the heating season the air is about 10 degrees colder than the ambient temperature.
Ice Around Your Heat pump
During the heating season you might see ice around the coil of your outdoor system, this happens usually when the temperature outside drops below 42-45 degrees and there is enough moisture in the air to produce ice. While your heat pump is running in heat mode, the outside air is used as part of the refrigerant cycle since it helps convert liquid refrigerant into a gas as it goes through the outdoor coil, that's the purpose of the top condenser fan motor, to move air across the coil. In this case, the air coming from the top is at least 10 degrees colder than the air going in through the sides.
So if we are at 42 degrees outside the temperature of the air going through the outside coil is about 32 degrees or lower and that is when ice starts to build around your system.
The Defrost Cycle
Your heat pump comes with a built in defrost cycle that is triggered by an outdoor sensor, runtime and a coil temperature sensor, if the system detects that a defrost cycle is needed you will see this happen:
Before the defrost cycle
During the defrost cycle
During the defrost cycle
Things To Look For
One of the most common things to look for during a cold rainy day is ice building on the top of your heat pump, this happens when water drips from the edge of your roof right over your heat pump. This causes that loud banging noise that sounds like your outdoor system is falling apart or a piece of metal fell off and started bouncing in there. Most of the times it is small pieces of ice breaking down and hitting the fan blades, some systems accumulate enough ice that it builds a hard layer around the fan blade causing them to get stuck and cause one of the following problems:
If this happens, switch your system to Em (emergency or auxiliary heat) mode on your thermostat, this will turn off the outdoor system during the heating cycle and will start using only the electric heat (located at your indoor system) to heat your home.
You will need to talk to your roofer or a handyman to install a rain guard or drip guard (unless you want to install rain gutters), it is a piece of sheet metal that will prevent water from falling over your condenser and causing damage.
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