Why Is My Outdoor Air Conditioner Unit Running During the Winter?

Outdoor AC unit

It’s February. Your thermostat is set for “heat”, warm air is coming from your vents, and everything in your heating system seems to be working perfectly – except for the fact that your outdoor air conditioner unit is running.

Why? The answer is simple: your outdoor unit is a heat pump.

This is actually good news, because a heat pump can save you a bunch of money on energy bills if you use it correctly.

Here’s why: rather than generate heat the way a furnace would, a heat pump simply moves heat from one place to another – a much less energy intensive way to go.

In summer, your heat pump uses cooling coils to absorb heat from inside your home and pump it outdoors. During the winter, it reverses the process, absorbing heat from the outdoor air and moving it into your home. Some heating units are hybrid systems that use a furnace only below certain temperatures.

Want to be sure you have a heat pump? Here are two sure-fire ways to tell.

  1. Find the model number on the condenser (outdoor) unit and search for it online.
  2. Look through the condenser’s grill for a brass fixture with three fittings on one side. This is a reversing valve – the hardware responsible for switching the unit from heating to cooling. If there’s a reversing valve in your condenser, it’s a heat pump.

Once you know you have a heat pump, you’ll want to make sure you give it the year-round care it needs. We strongly suggest biannual heat pump tune-ups – once before summer cooling season, once before winter heating season. Some common heat pump problems that maintenance can prevent include:

Keep your heat pump in your Hudson Valley home working at its best with routine maintenance from the experts at Bottini. Contact us today to schedule your heat pump tune-up!