Have you ever noticed ice building up on the outside section of your heat pump? If you have, don’t panic. Ice forming on your heat pump is to be expected on cold days, and it isn’t necessarily a problem. However, it can very quickly become a problem if your heat pump malfunctions. Read on to learn how to recognize when heat pump ice is a threat to your system, and when to call for repairs.
The Cause of Heat Pump Ice
Ice builds up on your heat pump due to the natural operation of the system. The coil in the pump evaporates refrigerant to absorb heat from the air surrounding the unit. This causes the temperature of the air around the unit to drop, and condensation to form on the coil. The condensate freezes if the temperature is low enough, forming ice on the coil.
When It Is and Isn’t a Problem
Ice is a threat to the heat pump in a number of ways. The weight of the ice buildup can cause the coil to permanently warp, which means it will need to be replaced. The more ice that’s on the coil, the more the coil is cut off from the air that it needs to use for heat. So as a heat pump ices over it becomes less effective and more likely to break down.
The reason this normally isn’t a problem is because heat pumps use defrost cycles to melt ice off of their coils. If the defrost cycle malfunctions, however, your system is left wide open to problems caused by the ice. So if your heat pump is slowly being covered in ice, you may want to call for repairs.