Heat PumpsWhy Is There Ice on My Heat Pump?

The last thing that you want to see on your heating system is ice, right? Well, the development of ice on a heat pump in the winter is actually not as serious of a problem as you may think it is. It is also not at all uncommon.

In fact, heat pumps feature a defrost cycle in order to deal with this very situation. Even so, very frequent development of ice on the system, or ice that encases the entire outdoor unit, can indicate more serious issues. Read on to learn a bit more about ice on your heat pump in North Seattle, WA, and when you should be concerned.

Why Does Ice Form?

The reason that heat pumps are able to heat homes so efficiently is due to the fact that they don’t generate heat. Instead, they transfer heat from the air outside into the home, after compressing the refrigerant that absorbs the heat. When temperatures outside are cold enough, and humidity conditions are also right, condensation on the outdoor heat pump unit can freeze on the coils. It is not unusual to see a thin layer of frost or even ice on the outdoor unit.

When Does Ice Become a Problem?

If there is a little frost on the outdoor heat pump unit, there isn’t really anything to worry about. Should enough ice build up on the unit, though, the heat transfer process can be severely limited. The icing will only get worse and worse, and the heat pump less and less efficient and effective. Eventually, the added strain on the heat pump can lead to operational problems, and even damages.

What Should I Do?

Usually, nothing. Your heat pump has a defrost mode that is meant to combat this very issue. The system will briefly reverse its operation, acting in cooling mode in order to heat the outdoor unit and melt the ice. The auxiliary heat source will run briefly to prevent your home from cooling down. Should the problem persist and your outdoor unit really ice over, you should give us a call to ensure that the system is indeed defrosting properly.

Schedule your heat pump services with  G & S Heating Cooling & Electric.


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