Do Heat Pumps Condensate in Winter?
Regardless of the season, a heat pump produces a low amount of condensation. This occurs in both heating and cooling modes.
A typical heat pump can produce several gallons of condensation every day, depending on the level of humidity in the air and usage. Since heat pump condensation is an inevitable occurrence, you should make sure the water drains clear of your home’s structure.
What Is Condensation?
Heat pumps “condensate,” but what does this mean exactly? Condensation is a process by which water vapor (water in gas form) changes into liquid form as it encounters cold surfaces. When the invisible water vapor gets cold, it condensates and takes on one of these forms: dew, fog, frost, or mist. For example, the small drops of water you see clinging to cool surfaces like grass, leaves, and plants at dawn are dew. Frost is water vapor that becomes solid. Frost typically forms on objects like windows and outdoor plants when the air outside has adequate moisture. In Maine, frost usually forms at night when the air temperature is cooler.
How Do Heat Pumps Produce Condensation?
Condensation can form either on the unit or inside the unit. When a heat pump is running in heat mode (pulling heat from the outdoor air and moving it indoors) in high humidity, the condensation will typically form on the unit’s surface and drip into the soil. In cooling mode (removing heat from the indoors and taking it outdoors), the condensation may form inside the unit and drip and drop into the drain pain.
Is It Always Normal for Heat Pumps to Leak Water?
When condensation occurs, it’s normal for your heat pump to leak some water outside. Issues arise when your heat pump leaks water inside your home due to failure. Sometimes a leaking heat pump indicates a problem that should be promptly addressed by calling an experienced heat pump technician.
There are several reasons why your Maine heat pump may be leaking due to failure:
- Blocked air ducts: Blockages may obstruct the normal airflow within the air ducts, which causes temperature swings and leads to unnecessary condensation.
- Dirty air filters: The air filters on heat pumps need to be kept clean and replaced regularly. Old filters accumulate a lot of dirt, which can compromise the cooling and heating performance of your heat pump unit and cause leaks.
- Leaking refrigerant: When your heat pump operates normally, there should be no loss of refrigerant. When refrigerant starts to leak, ice may start to form around your heat pump’s evaporator coil, leading to water leakage around the unit and indoors.
- Dirty evaporator coil: Your heat pump is equipped with a cold evaporator coil which drains moisture down a drain pan. When the evaporator coil accumulates too much dirt or grime, the condensation may start leaking onto the ground.
- Clogged drain line: A clogged condensate drain line may lead to leaks in your home. When the drain line gets clogged with dirt, mold, and other debris, it may cause water to overflow and cause damage to your home. The drain line should be checked regularly during maintenance and cleaned as needed to ensure it’s never obstructed.
- Disconnected drain line: Another issue that may occur with your unit’s condensate drain line is that it may become loose or disconnected. This may result in leakage both inside and outside of your home.
Contact Valley Home Services in Hermon and Brunswick for Heat Pump Repair
An unrepaired water leak can cause your heat pump to suffer damage and lead to damaged drywall or flooring inside your home. If you notice an unusual leak or pooling of water around your unit, don’t wait for things to worsen—Call Valley Home Services to schedule an inspection. One of our qualified heat pump technicians will identify and repair the underlying culprit behind the leak.
If your heat pump is working fine and you want to avoid running into problems in the future, now may be the perfect moment to schedule a maintenance appointment.
For more information or to schedule your appointment, call (800) 316-7815.