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Residential Heating and Air Conditioning Blog

“Help, My Heat Pump Is Billowing Smoke!” and Other Heat Pump Misunderstandings

Heat pumps aren’t new technology. They’ve been around since the invention of split-system air conditioning. But they’re new technology to many homeowners who are adopting them. This means there are some misunderstandings about them flying around.

We want to encourage our customers to look into the possibilities of getting a heat pump installation in Eden Prairie, MN or elsewhere in the Twin Cities, so we’re going to look at these common misunderstandings and misconceptions.

“Smoke is billowing from my heat pump!”

First-time owners of a heat pump may have a sudden feeling of panic when they look out their window during freezing cold weather and see a white cloud plume coming from the outdoor unit of the heat pump. Don’t worry—it’s not smoke!

What you’re seeing is a standard part of how a heat pump works, the defrost cycle. To eliminate ice developing along the outdoor refrigerant coil, the heat pump will periodically release heat through the coil to melt the ice, creating a plume of steam that might be mistaken for smoke.

“Heat pumps won’t work in our cold climate”

Some people believe that heat pumps are only effective in warm climates because they have to draw the heat they use in heating mode from the outside air. In reality, modern heat pumps are designed to operate efficiently in a wide range of climates, including right here in Minnesota.

“Heat pumps are only useful for heating”

Maybe it’s because “heat” is in the title, but people sometimes make the error of thinking heat pumps are only useful for heating. But heat pumps are versatile systems that can both heat and cool spaces—that’s their biggest appeal. They operate as effectively as standard air conditioning systems of the same size.

“Heat pumps make a lot of noise”

You may have heard that heat pumps are loud and disruptive. While older models may have been noisier, modern heat pumps are designed to operate at much quieter levels. Regular maintenance and proper installation will contribute to minimizing noise levels.

“Heat pumps just cost too much”

A heat pump may have a sticker price higher than that of an AC or a furnace, but keep in mind that when you purchase a heat pump, you are replacing both the air conditioner and the furnace with a single unit. That puts the price in perspective. Plus, heat pumps can offer long-term energy savings that pay back their initial investment. There are also various types of heat pumps with different price ranges to suit different budgets.

“Heat pumps can replace a furnace entirely”

In some homes, yes. But not always. Heat pumps might not be the sole solution for every home. Supplemental heating sources like furnaces or electric resistance heating may be required during very low temperatures. This is why you always want to work with pros when having a heat pump installed: they’ll know what you need for the best comfort.

“Heat pumps won’t heat a home consistently”

Some people believe heat pumps struggle to provide consistent warmth. The truth is that modern heat pumps are designed to maintain consistent and comfortable temperatures throughout the living space. Proper sizing, installation, and regular maintenance contribute to their effective performance.

Rely on Residential Heating and Air Conditioning and you’ll “Feel the Difference”! Serving The Twin Cities Since 1991. 

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