What a winter season we’ve had here in Louisiana! With snow in December, temperatures dropping below freezing regularly, and even a dusting of snow last week (not to mention more frigid days predicted in the weeks ahead) you’d think we’ve all packed up and moved North!
And while it’s likely that you haven’t touched your AC unit since the temperatures started cooling down after Halloween and the humidity began decreasing, you may have noticed some odd activity outside your house. In fact, it might even look like your air conditioning unit is smoking or on fire!
How can this be? You’re not even using the air conditioner, and it looks like it’s about to go up in flames. Is this activity a fire hazard to your AC unit, or perhaps your entire home?
Rest Assured, This is Not a Fire Risk to Your Home
If it’s been cool outside and you’ve noticed what looks like smoke coming out of your outdoor air conditioning unit, you don’t need to call 911 to send the nearest fire truck your way. On the contrary, if anything, you should call us for an explanation.
You see, you don’t actually have smoke coming up out of your air conditioning unit, or a fire hazard waiting to blow. What you have is a defrosting issue, but our air conditioning experts can help maintain and save your AC unit.
Your AC Unit Isn’t Smoking, It’s Defrosting
You see, as Jack Frost keeps visiting us here in Southern Louisiana, we continue to get more and more cool air – air you definitely don’t want inside your home.
And in fact, your air conditioning unit knows this, and is pushing the cold air in your house outside, so that it can get heated. As a result, your air conditioner unit is defrosting the air it’s pushing outside your home, which emits itself as a vapor, one that looks very similar to smoke.
But in this case, where there’s smoke, there’s not fire.
Keep in mind, this defrosting process is completely normal, and the vapor that emits from your air conditioning unit usually only does so for about 10 minutes at a time. In fact, a complete defrosting cycle looks something like this:
1) The outdoor fan in your AC unit will temporarily stop working while the compressor, which is deep inside the heat pump, will continue to pump out refrigerant.
2) The flow of the refrigerant will suddenly reverse directions, and with a “WOOOOSH” out comes large vapor clouds from the internal heat pump.
3) This frost will slowly melt away while the thermostat deep inside your heat pump monitors the progress.
4) Once your air conditioning unit has completed the defrosting process, the AC unit fan will begin working again, and the refrigerant flow will reverse back to its normal direction. You’ll hear another “WOOOOSH,” signifying that the defrosting process is officially complete.
Call Us With Any Questions
If you’re noticing this “smoking” sensation with your AC unit this winter, and you want us to check out your unit just to be safe, we’re happy to help. You can reach out to us online or by phone at (985) 892-7071.