Heat pumps are more popular each year for home heating and cooling. A unit that can take care of your comfort needs throughout the year is, after all, a great investment.
As your heat pump settles into its heating mode for the season, you may notice frost forming on the refrigerant coils of the outside cabinet. If this occurs, you’ll probably be concerned and want to know why it’s happening… and if you need to call for repairs.
Here are 4 reasons that ice may form on a heat pump:
- Standard heat pump operation: The good news is that, most of the time, frost developing on a heat pump is a normal occurrence. If the temperature outside is below freezing but humidity is high, the moisture that naturally develops along the refrigerant coil as it draws heat from the air will freeze. It’s true that ice will make it more difficult for the refrigerant coil to siphon heat from the air. However, the heat pump has built-in defrost controls to handle this. The defrost cycle temporarily switches the movement of refrigerant through the coils so they release heat and melt off the frost.
- Broken defrost controls: The defrost controls, like any other mechanism, can malfunction. Should that happen, they won’t activate the defrost cycle and ice will begin to accumulate.
- Failed reversing valve: If the defrost controls are working, but the component responsible for switching the direction of refrigerant—the reversing valve—isn’t, then the defrost cycle will also fail.
- Leaking refrigerant: The refrigerant in a heat pump is set at a fixed level, but can drop due to leaks. If this occurs, the coil will not be able to heat up enough to melt off the ice. Loss of refrigerant will cause numerous issues in a heat pump and can even lead to a permanently busted compressor, so this problem must be fixed as soon as possible.
If the frost on your heat pump doesn’t melt off after two hours, you need to have technicians look into it before you start to lose heating in your home. Just give us a call and we’ll take care of it.
Hall’s Heating, Air Conditioning & Refrigeration serves Bossier City, LA and the surrounding areas. We have 24-hour emergency service available.