This particular mode for a heat pump has several different names that homeowners recognize. In this blog we’ll be using the term “recovery mode” but some folks call it “defrost mode” or just “recovery.” This is a specific mode your heat pump goes into when temperatures are too cold outside and the system is beginning to freeze. It will warm itself up by running briefly in reverse, and this can cause some distress for homeowners who are already chilly.
Heat pumps are becoming more popular as a reliable method for heating in Kalispell, MT. We don’t want any homeowners to veer away from such awesome technology because of this small process. That’s why we’re going to go over what the recovery mode of a heat pump is, why it works this way, and why you shouldn’t be so worried when your heat pump exhibits the signs of being in recovery mode.
The Science Behind Recovery Mode
When temperatures drop to below freezing, or even to zero, a heat pump can still draw heat from the atmosphere and provide it for your home. The problem is that there’s less heat in the atmosphere and your heat pump has to work harder to achieve the same goal. This is on top of the fact that when temperatures drop too low, a heat pump can even struggle to move the components because everything can get frozen and rigid in place.
Have you ever tried to turn on your car when temperatures are sub-zero? Even that process can fail, which is why heat pump technology has a failsafe to ensure it doesn’t break down in winter.
The recovery mode comes on when a heat pump is beginning to freeze and it’s having trouble running normally. The outdoor component is going to be icing up (especially when there’s actual ice in the environment) and it’s going to need excess heat in order to run properly. This is when the system will briefly run in reverse, drawing in the heat from your home so it can defrost the outdoor components and keep working normally.
It’s Perfectly Normal
Before you get concerned, remember that a heat pump’s recovery mode is perfectly normal. It does this so that it can continue to provide heat for your home through brutally cold temperatures. If your home is starting to get very cold and it seems like the heat pump just isn’t recovering, then we advise you to call us. That sounds more like a problem and less like the recovery mode of a heat pump.
Three Ways to Avoid Recovery Mode
Firstly, ensure that your home has enough warmth so that your heat pump can recover properly. This is the first and easiest method to ensure your heat pump can recover without affecting your indoor temperatures.
Secondly, if temperatures are constantly reaching below zero or near zero, it might be beneficial to run another heating appliance like a gas or wood stove to stay toasty while the system recovers. Or, you could even use your fireplace!
Thirdly, call our team for maintenance before temperatures get low. We’ll be able to make sure your heat pump is ready for the cold temperatures so you’ve got nothing to worry about.