HeatingWhy is There Ice on my Heat Pump?

The last thing you want is for your home’s heating system to stop working during Washington’s cold winter months. With that in mind, it can be a little disconcerting to walk outside and discover that your heat pump is covered in ice. Don’t panic yet, though. Ice being present isn’t necessarily a sign of something wrong, with a couple of exceptions.

Why does it happen?

Ice or frost on a heat pump is formed by the heat pump’s natural operation. A heat pump works by drawing heat from the air surrounding the unit and directing it throughout the house. When the air supply around the heat pump is cooler, the water vapor in the air condenses on the unit and freezes. This is what causes frost to build up on the unit over time.

Is it a problem?

Yes and no. All heat pumps are designed to go through a defrost cycle to regularly melt any frost on the unit. This is done by briefly reversing the flow of warm air out of the house instead of inward. This should be enough to manage any frost on the unit. However, a large amount of frost present on the unit is a sign that the defrost cycle isn’t working properly. There are a number of possible causes for this, all of which will need a professional to diagnose and repair. Without a working defrost cycle, the heat pump has no way to remove the build-up of frost. Eventually, this will cause the entire unit to ice over and stop working properly. Without access to the ambient thermal energy in the surrounding air, the heat pump will have no way to heat the house.

What to do about it

If you notice that the frost on the heat pump is not disappearing after a couple of hours, or if most of the unit is covered by it, you may need your heat pump repaired. It is a good idea to contact a heat pump professional as soon as you see signs that the defrost cycle may not be working.

If you are having problems with your heat pump icing over, call us to schedule repair service for your heat pump in Mill Creek.

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