My new heat pump is drippy and it sounds weird! What should I do?

February 15, 2022

Image Credit to One Beautiful Life Photo

If you haven’t had a heat pump before, you may see and hear some things that seem unusual. More than likely, your system is behaving normally. But to put your mind at ease, let’s walk through some ways these systems behave differently than traditional heating and cooling systems.

It’s perfectly normal if your heat pump is…

Humming. All heat pumps have outside coils that work to transfer heat into or out of your home. In cold weather, when your system is heating your home, these coils may ice up and go into defrost mode. When that happens, the outside unit will make a humming sound. 

Steaming. Those coils may let off significant amounts of steam when it’s cold outside, too. Don’t worry. It’s not smoke!

Making a brief “whooshing” sound. When the refrigerant is changing direction, you may hear “whooshing” or “swooshing.” Not to worry. This is just how the system works. 

Dripping water beneath the outdoor unit. When your heat pump is producing heat, the outside coils may condense and drip, depending on the humidity and temperature, kind of like a glass of ice water on a hot day. 

Dripping water from exterior pipes. To maintain the proper humidity in your home, your system pulls moisture out of the air. This water may drip from a pipe that comes out of your foundation vent block, along the side of your house, or down a wall.

Blowing air that feels cool, even when it’s in heating mode. The air delivered into your home through air vents will feel cooler than the air that comes out of the vents in homes heated with a traditional furnace. Don’t worry. It’s heating. It just works differently than a furnace. (By contrast, the air blowing into your space when your heat pump is on cooling mode will feel quite cool, similar to a traditional air conditioning system.)

It’s not so normal if your heat pump is…

Dripping water from the indoor unit. If you see water escaping from your indoor unit, this means a drain line is likely clogged. Call a service technician to check it out.

Getting a clear, solid ice buildup on the outdoor unit. Filmy, thin ice is okay. But solid ice on your outdoor heat pump unit can signal that there’s a plugged filter or some other problem. Give your technician a call to get it checked.

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