Many people are surprised the first time their heat pump freezes up on them during the winter. The reality is that it’s a common problem that can happen throughout the winter.

Why Heat Pumps Frost Over

There’s really no mystery to it. As the cool, dry outside air passes over the warm surface of the heat pump, it causes the water vapor contained within the air to condense out of it. As that condensed water passes over a cool surface that’s below the freezing point, it freezes and becomes a layer of ice.

As more air undergoes the same process, the ice builds up and eventually blocks airflow in and out of the unit. This will cause the heat pump to operate sporadically and eventually shut itself off. The more ice that builds up, the more difficult a time the defrost cycle will have in clearing the ice.

Dealing With an Iced Over Heat Pump

For this reason, it’s important for you to check the heat pump to ensure frost and ice aren’t building up. If you notice a significant amount of ice, carefully remove as much as you can, then allow the defrost cycle to clear the rest. If it fails to do this, contact an HVAC repair technician to take a look.

The heat pump may frosting over because the unit’s sensors, motor, defrost controls, thermostat or reversing valves are malfunctioning. It may also be because you have insufficient levels of coolant coursing through the system. Prevent this in advance with preventive maintenance by a trusted HVAC professional before the first frost sets in.

For more information about how to care for your heat pump, or for other home comfort concerns, contact JD’s A/C. We’ll be happy to give you all the details and tell you more about the ways we can help keep your family warm and comfortable this winter.

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