Is Your Heat Pump Frozen or Just a Little Frosty?
It doesn’t happen often, but when you live in Clearwater and see frost on your heat pump, is there reason to worry? A little bit of frost on a heat pump is normal due to condensation freezing as it hits the cold coils. However, if the frost is too thick or lasts too long, that’s a sign the heat pump is frozen rather than just frosty.
When a heat pump becomes frosty, the unit will usually switch into defrost mode. The refrigerant, which is quite hot in heating mode, melts the frost surrounding the heat pump.
After a set amount of time, the defrost mode switches off. The heat pump should go back to normal heating, and the layer of frost should be gone.
But what if the frost or solid ice is still there? That means the heat pump is probably frozen. There are several possible causes for a frozen heat pump:
- The outdoor coil is clogged by debris, leaves or even a snow drift. The solution? Just clear the blockage.
- The top of the heat pump may be frozen from water dripping from a gutter or even freezing rain.
- A faulty defrost control or thermostat may be to blame or the heat pump may not be reversing into defrost mode as needed. These issues require repairs by a trained HVAC technician.
As a basic rule of thumb, if there’s so much frost that air can’t get into the unit, if the frost lasts longer than a few hours, or if there’s ice on top of the unit, the heat pump is frozen. If you can’t find an obvious obstruction that would cause the freezing, contact an HVAC technician to get the heat pump running again.
To avoid some of the issues that cause frozen heat pumps, schedule preventative maintenance twice a year to ensure the heat pump is ready for both heating and the cooling seasons.
If your heat pump is frozen or for help with any other HVAC issues, contact Cox Air Conditioning & Heating. We’ve proudly served the Clearwater area since 1958.
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