What is a 'Defrost Cycle' and how does Homely interact? How can I get the most out of my heat pump during frosty weather?

What is a 'Defrost Cycle'?
During cold and humid weather, frost can accumulate over the outdoor unit of a heat pump. Accumulation of frost can prevent the unit from operating correctly, therefore, heat pumps come equipped with what is called a 'Defrost Cycle'. The cycle reverses the heating process, borrowing heat from inside the home to melt the ice accumulated on the unit. The process typically takes up to 10 minutes but can vary depending on the severity of the case. 

What should the homeowner be aware of? 
The heat pump may struggle to maintain high indoor temperatures during severe cases of frost accumulation. 

How can I reduce the amount my heat pump goes into a defrost cycle? 

  • Keep your system maintained:
    • Keep the outdoor unit clean and clear of debris, snow and ice. Clearing away any snow, ice or debris within a 2 ft radius of the heat pump.
    • Frost accumulation increases with humidity; remove any unnecessary sources of water that could increase the local humidity.
    • Check and replace the filter regularly. A dirty filter can restrict flow, leading to reduced efficiency.
    • Ensure all your radiator valves are turned on. Temperature disparity between rooms can cause heat loss within the household, increasing the workload on your heat pump.
    • Check all radiators for air, blocked radiators will also cause temperature disparity between rooms, increasing the workload on your heat pump.
  • Reduce usage and wastage:
    • Keep windows and doors closed as much as possible to reduce the amount of cold air entering your home. 
    • Use draft stoppers or weatherstripping to seal gaps around windows and doors. 
    • Reduce your target indoor temperature to reduce the workload on your heat pump.
    • Reduce variation in target indoor temperature. Temperature variation can increase the workload on your heat pump.
    • Reduce hot water usage, as this can increase the demand on your heat pump.
  • Ask your heat pump installer for help:
    • Your installer may be able to adjust your heat pump settings so it's more appropriately equipped for cold conditions e.g. raise your maximum flow temperature.
    • A qualified professional can service your heat pump to ensure that it's working correctly and efficiently.

Does Homely have any interaction with my heat pump's defrost cycle?
Homely does not interfere with the defrost cycle as it is an important function that ensures the proper operation and efficiency of the unit.
If you'd like to get the most out of Homely during frosty weather, ensure that your modes and schedules allow your heat pump to run slowly and steadily throughout the day without large indoor temperature variation.