My Heat Pump Is Smoking, What Do I Do?

By: Brian Schutt  |  December 4, 2014

Updated December 2023

With heat pump efficiency increases, large rebates from the government, and more customers wanting quiet outdoor systems, Homesense is having more calls for new heat pump installations. We are getting more questions from home owners who’ve never dealt with one before. We’ve discussed a few questions already this fall about these systems and some basic functionality.

With many of these new heat pump owners, the operations can sometimes cause questions like “Why is my heat pump look like it’s smoking?”

But, what do you do if your heat pump system appears to be smoking? First off, don’t panic. It’s highly unlikely that it’s actual smoke. As we discussed in the previous post, the heat pump goes through a defrost cycle. As you can imagine and see, defrosting creates steam – which admittedly looks quite a bit like smoke. The steam, coupled with the loud noises that usually accompany the defrost cycle, can make many home owners fearful that their system is on the brink of disaster.

What should happen is that after a few minutes (up to 30/45 if it’s very icy) of the defrost cycle, the coils will be clear of ice and the system can again function. If it does not stop, that’s when you have an issue. That’s when you give a trusted heating and cooling company a call.

Something helpful you can do as a homeowner is to get video of the heat pump “smoking” to share with your HVAC company. This could save you $$ and time by having the HVAC company explain the defrost process that’s likely occurring.




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