It’s winter. You’re cold, and you’ve got the heat pump running. But only cold air seems to be coming out of your vents.

What’s the problem?

Well, there might not be a problem at all. Here’s what we mean:

Heat pump air might just feel cool

The heat pump may be blowing warm air; it just does not “feel” warm.

Here’s why: The vent air’s temperature might be below your body temperature (which is about 98.6°F). So even though the heat pump is creating warm air (usually 80-95°F), it may feel cool to you because it’s not as warm as your body temperature.

If you’re used to gas heating, a heat pump’s “lukewarm” air can take some getting used to.

To make sure your heat pump is heating your home, do this:

Go to your thermostat and check the inside temperature. Is it rising? Does it eventually get to your set temperature and shut off the heat pump? If so, then the heat pump is doing its job.

Heat pumps have to defrost occasionally

When it’s really cold outside, a heat pump has to occasionally defrost itself.

When it does this, you might notice a few minutes of cold air coming out of your vents before the heat pump begins heating again. This is normal operation during cold days and nothing to worry about, so long as your home reaches your thermostat’s set temperature.

Here’s a video that shows what a normal defrost cycle looks and sounds like: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xpLZgRpUFic

How to know when there’s a real problem

Of course, heat pumps do occasionally break down and need repairs (especially if you haven’t had regular maintenance done).

Here’s how to know you need to call a heating repairman: Your home doesn’t warm up. Simple as that.

If that’s what’s happening, here are some things to check before calling a repair company:

  • Make sure the thermostat is set to “heat”
  • Make sure the thermostat is set a few degrees higher than the indoor temperature
  • Check your air filter and replace it if it’s dirty

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