Winter weather can be plenty cold here in the Pacific Northwest. That being said, we don’t really deal with the subzero temperatures or icy tundra conditions that other states in the union do. So why is it that your heat pump in Lake Stevens froze up when last you were using it to heat your home on a very chilly night?
The development of ice on a heat pump is definitely an alarming situation for homeowners new to the phenomenon. However, it is not exactly an uncommon occurrence. In fact, icing up is something that your heat pump manufacturer has already taken into account!
Humidity and Cold
Your heat pump relies on the transference of heat, rather than the generation of heat, in order to keep your home warm and cozy. This heat transfer is accomplished by evaporating refrigerating in order to absorb heat from the air outside, and then compressing that heat before condensing it indoors. When there is the right amount of humidity in the air outside, and conditions are chilly enough, condensation on the outdoor unit can freeze up and cause icing on your heat pump.
The Built-In Defense
When you wake up to go to work in the morning and your windshield is covered with frost or ice, you probably run the car for a few minutes to soften it up and melt it. Well, your heat pump actually has a defrost cycle designed to deal with the ice that may form on its outdoor unit.
Basically, the heat pump switches over to its cooling mode for a short amount of time, meaning that it draws heat out of the air in your home and disperses it outdoors. That doesn’t mean that you’ll be actively cooling your house, though. You see, an auxiliary heating element will work during this time to keep the warm air flowing. And no, this is not a frequent enough or drastic enough occurrence to render a heat pump inefficient!
Contact G & S Heating Cooling & Electric for all of your heat pump service needs.