Mini-Split Musings

Stay Warm All Through the House...with Ductless

December 23, 2016

Northwest winters are not as harsh as in other regions. But when the temperature dips and the humidity climbs, the weather can chill your bones. And that's when people with traditional heating system turn those thermostats up and huddle up in the warm zone. But with a ductless heat system, you don't have to stay rooted to one room...just use your remote or thermostat to adjust your comfort and you're done. "Set it, and forget it"!

Sometimes, during a real cold snap, a few Ductless Heat Pumps react a bit differently than 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, you also may need to reduce the size of the ‘effective heating 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 we 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 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, so try to clean those filters about once every 2 months, more if you smoke indoors, have pets or a large amount of dust in your home.

Review cleaning your filters

Remember that these seasonal and severe weather adjustments are normal. You can avoid a service call if you perform regular filter cleanings, or get our deep clean service about every three years. We don’t mind coming to check things out, but to save you a bit of time and anxiety try the following steps if your heat pump behaves a bit differently:

  1. Make sure the MODE is set to 'Heat'
  2. Set the Fan to AUTO only
  3. Set the temperature (do not use Auto for the temperature)
  4. Avoid adjusting the temperature setting often-Ductless heat pumps adjust to changing conditions automatically.
  5. Clean the filters regularly-cannot say this enough.
  6. Let the heat pump work-Use it as your primary system, UNLESS you need to allow the backup to operate in severe conditions 
  7. Understand the DEFROST FUNCTION (when your heat pump blows cool air)-This is an automatic, and necessary function of a Ductless heat pump. It only lasts up to 15 minutes.
  8. Sometimes, a new smell might occur with a season change. Give your ductless heat pump time to adjust.

 Remember, we’ll always be here to help you, but it's nice to know that there are steps you can take to ensure your continuous comfort during a seasonal change.

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