During certain weather conditions, it’s normal for the coils of your heat pump to be covered in a light frost, or even ice over. Throughout the winter in particular, it’s common for heat pumps to ice-up. However, if the entire unit, including the coils and the top of the unit, are covered in thicker ice, this could be a sign of a problem. To make sure you’re keeping your home as energy-efficient as possible and to avoid any major damage to your HVAC system, it’s important to address this issue as soon as possible.
Troubleshooting Tips for Freezing Heat Pumps
As the heat pump generates heat, the refrigerant turns into gas form as it reaches the outdoor coil. As it condenses and releases moisture, a defrost component helps melt the moisture if it freezes. However, if there’s some sort of malfunction, ice can build up on the coil much thicker than it should. This is why if you have a heat pump, it’s important to inspect the unit throughout the winter so you can watch out for ice building up on the coils or other components.
Here are a few troubleshooting tips you can try to ensure your heat pump does not freeze up this winter:
Replace dirty or clogged filters. Dirty filters can restrict the airflow to the coils, so make sure to check the filter regularly. If it’s seen better days, it’s time to replace it. In fact, make a reminder on your calendar to replace the air filter on a monthly basis to keep everything working efficiently.
Unblock indoor air registers. If furniture, drapery, doors or carpeting is blocking any of the registers in your home, this could also decrease the airflow to the coils and cause ice to build up. This winter, check around the house to ensure all registers are exposed as they should be.
Repair dripping gutters. If your unit is located beneath gutters, make sure there are no leaks dripping down onto the outdoor unit and causing ice to accumulate. Inspect the gutters near your unit regularly and promptly fix any issues.
Clear the area around the unit. Keep the outdoor unit free of snow, leaves, dirt, twigs, and any other type of debris. Check underneath the unit, too, and make sure there’s nothing building up below it. These materials could also interfere with the unit’s airflow or block the outdoor coil.
Remove ice with a garden hose. As a last-ditch type of effort, turn the outdoor unit off and then use a garden hose to rinse off any ice that has built up. However, if the heat pump ices up again once you turn it back on, this is a sign that there’s something more serious happening. In this case, it’s time to call in the professionals.
Make sure the unit is elevated. The outdoor unit should be sitting on a concrete slab or blocks, and over time, it’s normal for it to settle or sink a bit. This can cause water to accumulate inside the condensing unit. If it’s looking off-kilter, this is another instance where you’ll want to call a professional team to service the unit properly and set it straight once again.
Are you having any issues with your heat pump freezing up? The team at Efficient Heating and Cooling is ready to help! If you’re in the greater Cleveland area, contact our team today! Or, give us a call at 216-663-6462.