Has Your Heat Pump Frozen Over? Understand How That Happens

Has Your Heat Pump Frozen Over? Understand How That HappensWhen your heat pump freezes over in the middle of a chilly Peachtree City winter, you’re left with poor heating performance and lower energy efficiency. In unusually cold weather, a thin layer of frost is nothing to worry about. However, if your outdoor unit’s whole coil becomes encased in ice, you have a definite problem. Knowing what causes this to occur will help you prevent future issues.

How a Heat Pumps Develops Ice

Your heat pump’s outdoor unit pulls air over refrigerant coils inside the unit which draws warmth from the air. However, certain conditions can prevent enough warmth from flowing over the coils to keep its temperature above freezing. When this happens, the coil temperature drops below freezing and any moisture in the air passing over turns to ice.

Although heat pumps have defrost mechanisms designed to de-ice the unit automatically, at times, this mechanism can become overwhelmed and fail. If your heat pump stays iced up for two hours or longer, don’t ignore the problem.

What Causes Freezing?

Impaired airflow is one of the most common reasons a heat pump freezes over. This could be caused by a clogged filter or by a buildup of leaves and other debris on the outdoor unit. Just changing your filter or cleaning the outdoor unit can prevent further freezing. Blocked air ducts are another possibility, but removing duct blockages may require a professional HVAC technician.

Water on the heat pump can also cause freezing. A downpour of sleet or freezing rain can create ice faster than the system can defrost. Gutters leaking water onto your heat pump can cause freezing as well.

A variety of mechanical and electronic problems are also among the potential reasons a heat pump freezes over. This includes problems with the defrost mechanism’s sensor, relay or controls, a failing reversing valve, problems with the fan motor and low refrigerant levels. All of these issues require professional attention.

Whether you’re having problems with your heat pump or you just need help with maintenance, contact Powers Heating & Air in the Fayette and Coweta County area today.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Peachtree City, Georgia and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

Credit/Copyright Attribution: “Syda-Productions/Shutterstock”

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