When is it Normal for Your Heat Pump Icing Up?
Your Heat pumps Icing up will be natural during the winter. It is considered normal if the entire coil becomes lightly covered in ice but only in certain weather conditions.
Indication of a Problem
It is not normal if the whole unit becomes completely covered in ice for a long period of time, this includes the top of the unit as well as the inner coil. You need to have this checked out as it may cause severe damage to your unit. The air has to pass between the fins of the unit, if the condensing fan motor cannot pull the air in and out through the fins then there is a problem and your unit is not operating at optimum capacity and efficiency.
The Defrost Cycle
Heat pumps are designed to pull cold air from a home and not freeze up. To prevent this from happening, the heat pump must go into defrost mode when it becomes too cold. Defrost mode tends to switch the heat pump into air conditioning mode for a while till it unfreezes. After which, you can go back to heat mode.
Defrost mode only tends to last for 10-15 minutes. Heat strips usually start up and keep the air warm. Heat strips work like big space heaters and use electricity to heat up the elements and send out the heat.
What to Check if the Unit is Freezing Up
- You should check or replace the air filter, make sure there is unhindered air flow for your heat pump to work properly.
- Check if there is any air flowing from the vent, if there is no air flowing then the blower motor or some other part is malfunctioning. The quickest way to test this is to set the thermostat manually to fan and see if any air blows through the vents.
- When the heat pump is running the large fan on the outside of it is called the condensing fan motor, which should kick in at some point and blow the air out through the fins.
- Check the fins for any debris that may be blocking the air from passing through, such as dirt or leaves.
You can use a water hosepipe to melt the buildup of ice. Please don’t resort to any other means to melt the ice as this will damage your unit. Heating your home this way for a day or two will not be that harmful but any longer than this will definitely be harmful and have a noticeable effect on your HVAC system and heated air flow.
A buildup of ice over your whole unit will increase your electricity bill a lot and also turn out to be a lot more expensive in the long term. Cut your losses and call a Service Champions Technician to have a look at your unit today.