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Heat Pump Troubleshooting During Winter – Frozen or Icing up

By Justin Funderburk / in , , , , , , , , , , , /

Heat Pump Troubleshooting is overwhelming

If your residence has a heat pump system that produces heating and cooling, it may appear that if anything goes south there are twice as many causes possible. A heat pump system operates slightly differently from a conventional air-cooled air conditioner. So how do you start troubleshooting the heat pump? And there are problems with repairing heat pumps you can indeed fix. Should your problems continue after following our troubleshooting guide, you should call a specialist for Heat Pump Repair in Mooresville, NC.

Heat Pump Troubleshooting – Frozen or Icing Up

Heat Pump Freezing or Icing Up During Winter

It’s actually quite normal for your heat pump to freeze or ice up during the winter months, the unit will typically produce some frost and ice on the exterior of the coils. The system is designed to self-defrost and it should normally go into a defrost mode every so often to remove this frost.

If your heat pump has excessive ice or snow on top of the unit, or on the perimeter of the unit that is not being melted this would impede the heat pumps ability to convert the cold air outside to heat. Another issue with this ice could lead to is damaging fins or internal parts on the heat pump leading to an eventual failure of the compressor.

Heat Pump Troubleshooting during Winter Months

  • The Unit is not defrosting properly. During normal operation your heat pump would switch to air conditioning temporarily to produce heat at the coils and melt frost or ice that has accumulated. Defrosting issues can be caused by faulty electronics, or bad reversing valves.
  • Condenser Fan Problem. If your unit is turning off to enter defrost mode, but you never hear the condenser fan activating to allow the release of heat which melts the frost your fan could be damaged. The fan can have a bad motor, faulty relays or have a physical blockage that is preventing it from starting.
  • Low Freon or Refrigerant. If the heat pump has a leak somewhere in the system you could have low freon or refrigerant which leads the system to not produce enough heat to melt the frost and ice. A qualified HVAC technician would need to check levels.

Defrosting your Heat Pump Properly

NEVER take any blunt or pointy objects and attempt to chip away at the ice, the internal components of your heat pump are delicate and when frozen the structural integrity of the system is weakened.

  1. Remove any snow or LOOSE ice that may have accumulated on top of the unit
  2. Verify you have no water sources nearby (leaking faucets, gutters, melting snow on roof)
  3. Use your outdoor faucet with a water hose, and slowly melt the ice with water.
  4. Call your HVAC technician for an evaluation of your heat pump as soon as possible.

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