If you’re using a heat pump this winter, you may notice ice building up on the outer casing of the outside unit. Don’t panic! Heat pump ice isn’t necessarily a problem in and of itself. However, monitoring the ice levels on your heat pump is a good way to determine whether or not another problem has occurred in your system. Let’s take a look at why ice accumulates on a heat pump, and when it indicates that there is another problem in the system.
Why Ice Happens
A heat pump heats a home by evaporating refrigerant to absorb thermal energy from the surrounding air. There are two major effects caused by this process. First, the temperature around the heat pump drops. Second, condensation forms on the heat pump coil. If the temperature drops low enough as a result of the heat pump operation, the condensate will freeze on the coil.
When to Call for Repairs
The reason that ice is nothing to worry about under normal circumstances is that heat pumps make use of defrost cycles to melt all of it off their coils. They do this by periodically reversing the flow of refrigerant for a set period of time, venting heat out of the outside coil to clear it. If that defrost cycle malfunctions, though, you are going to start having problems.
If the ice is allowed to build up on the coil freely, it will cut off the coil’s access to the thermal energy in the surrounding air. It will also spread to other parts of the system, causing a whole slew of other problems and even threatening a breakdown. If your heat pump is almost entirely covered in ice, you should have a professional look at it to make sure that everything is working.
Call Roznovak’s Services for more information about heat pumps. We service heat pumps throughout Taylor, TX.