Spotting water underneath your heat pump is enough to get you worried about leaks and potential repair costs. If you spot this during the winter, however, there’s a good chance that you’re just dealing with condensation, which is to be expected during the colder months. Still, it’s essential to know why condensation occurs, how it differs from a leak, and when it becomes a more significant issue.
How do Ductless Heat Pumps Work?
To better understand why condensation occurs, it helps to know your HVAC system operates. Despite what may be a common thought, your ductless system does not operate by blowing out a cooling or warming breeze, depending on the desired temperature. No, in fact, they work by capturing heat and dispersing it indoors during winter and outdoors through the summer.
HVAC systems do this with refrigerant, a substance that’s able to transfer heat from one space to another. During cooler temperatures heat is drawn from the outside air (even in freezing temperatures!) and transferred inside, increasing the indoor temperature.
What is the Difference Between Condensation and a Leak?
Condensation occurs when humid air comes in contact with cold surfaces. The cold surface cools the water vapor in the air, transforming it into its liquid state. As more condensation sprouts along with the outdoor coils it will eventually drip and drop, causing a potential puddle to form underneath.
Ductless systems come with a defrost control that temporarily warms the outer coils, melting and knocking off any hanging ice. The resulting puddle can make it look like your heat pump is leaking, when in fact, it’s part of a regularly occurring process.
Since condensation forms on the outside of a heat pump system, it differs from leaks that cause the inner refrigerant or liquid to spill onto the floor below. Leaks are typically a more severe issue than the typical condensation.
When does Condensation Become a Problem?
Generally speaking, if the condensation puddle occurs over a patch of yard or grass, there’s a low chance of the dripping liquid becoming an issue. The ground should be able to absorb the water, and access to sunlight will help dry off any of the excess.
Should the puddle form on a sidewalk, walkway, or a place that rarely receives sunlight, you may experience some resulting issues. As the water pools, it increases the chance of turning that surface potentially hazardous. Even if it doesn’t cause a slip and fall, standing water can damage the surface on which it collects.
Without the ability to evaporate, you may soon discover algae or spores growing near the damp surfaces. Any growth should be removed and disinfected immediately.
How Can The Heat Pump Store Help?
If you have questions about your heat pump situation, reach out to The Heat Pump Store today. We offer the highest quality heat pumps, like the Fujitsu mini-split system, and our sales and service teams prioritize our customers’ needs to determine which product best meets their needs.