Why There is Ice on Your Heat Pump

It may seem odd to find ice on the outside of your heat pump, even during winter. Even in a place like Florida, ice buildup on heat pumps is to be expected under certain circumstances. It’s not necessarily a problem, but it can certainly become one if one of the heat pump’s safety processes malfunctions. Let’s take a look at why ice forms on your heat pump, and when to call for repairs.

Why It Happens

As a heat pump evaporates refrigerant to absorb heat from the outside air, two things happen. First, the temperature around the heat pump coil drops as thermal energy is leeched from it. Second, condensate forms on the coil as the air cools past the dew point. If the air temperature drops below freezing, the condensation will form ice.

When to Call for Repairs

If the ice is allowed to build up over time, it will slowly cut off the coil’s access to the air around it. Without access to the air, the coil cannot siphon thermal energy and heat the home. The weight of the ice can also become heavy enough to warp the coil, requiring that it be replaced. Eventually, the ice can spread down the refrigerant line to other parts of the system, damaging them as well.

This isn’t normally a problem because heat pumps use defrost cycles to melt the ice off of their coils. They will temporarily reverse their refrigerant flows to vent heat out of the outer coil, rather than absorb it. If this cycle malfunctions, though, then the problems start. If your heat pump is mostly covered in ice, the defrost cycle may be malfunctioning. You should call for repairs at that point.

If your heat pump is experiencing problems, call Certified Air Systems, Inc. We offer heat pump services throughout Apopka, FL. 

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