How Does A Heat Pump Work In Winter?

Dominic Mitton
By Dominic  • Reviewed by Ben  • Updated:   October 26, 2023
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Heat pumps are part of HVAC systems and they can work all year round.

The real question is how they work in winter and if you can rely solely on them – that’s what we will cover in this helpful article.

Before learning to keep your heat pump working efficiently during cold winter days, let’s first talk about how it even works in the winter.

How Does a Heat Pump Work in The Winter?

The best way to describe how a heat pump works in the winter would be to think about how the air conditioner works, but in reverse.

The refrigerant will absorb the heat from the outside air and use it to warm your home.

It doesn’t matter the temperature, it will still absorb the heat and bring warmer air inside of your home.

In the summer, a heat pump uses refrigerant to absorb the heat from your home and release it outside – it’s a completely opposite process.

How to Keep Your Heat Pump Working During Winter

If you want to keep your heat pump working efficiently during the winter, it’s very important that you maintain it.

The good thing is that they don’t require as much maintenance as ACs.

Here are some tips that I personally follow that are proven to work:

  • Schedule maintenance every 6 months to check up on your unit.
  • Replace air filters at least every three months to keep your unit working properly
  • Make sure there’s no ice, snow, or debris on the outdoor unit.
  • Cut down any grass or bushes at least a foot from the heat pump.
  • When there’s a power outage, make sure to not use your HVAC system for 8 hours.

At What Temperature Do Heat Pumps Stop Working?

Although heat pumps can work at low temperatures, it’s true that they aren’t the best heating option when the temperature drops below freezing point.

In most cases, heat pumps stop working at around 14°F (-10°C), while better ones will stop working at around -4°F (-20°C).

With that being said, you shouldn’t rely solely on heat pumps during the cold winter days.

You should consider getting a space heater or electric fireplace.

Hey there! I am Benas, the founder and content editor at Home Caprice. Thanks for reading the article. I hope you were able to find what you were looking for. I and my team are here to simplify heating and cooling for everyone. Please have a look at the About page for more details about our website and feel free to check out our editorial process.