Frozen Heat Pump? Your Technician Should Diagnose Coil Issues

by Greg Leisgang on December 3, 2013

Posted in: Heat Pumps

It may not be uncommon for your heat pump to frost over during the cold season, especially if you live in greater Cincinnati. That said, a heat pump shouldn't completely freeze. If you're experiencing this issue, you should try to pinpoint the problem immediately.

Automatic defrosting

Heat pumps have an automatic defrosting mechanism. If they get covered in frost, these mechanisms will thaw them out and prevent the heat pump from further freezing. They work by reversing the refrigerant flow, which causes the condenser coil to heat and melt the surrounding ice.

General causes of a frozen heat pump

In many cases, the problem is simply clogged airflow. This can occur from lack of cleaning and general maintenance. To figure out whether or not this is the issue in your situation, turn off the system and rinse it with a hose.

It's very important that you don't chip away at ice, as condenser coils are very fragile and can easily break. Once the system has been rinsed and all of the ice has gone, turn it back on and see if it works. If it starts to get covered in ice again, your problem is probably a little more serious. Potential issues include:

  • A limited refrigerant charge
  • Fan motor malfunction
  • Damaged thermostat sensor
  • Sticking reverse valve
  • Damaged defrost timer

Finding out what's causing a frozen heat pump can be very difficult. For this reason, you should always consult an HVAC professional. He or she will be able to recommend the best course of action and will have both the knowledge and tools required to effectively complete the job.

Regular maintenance

Servicing your heat pump regularly can prevent these issues from occurring. Without regular maintenance and cleaning, you could find yourself having to pay substantial repair bills. Aim to schedule a service at least once per year, preferably prior to the winter season.

If you'd like advice on how to fix your frozen heat pump, contact us at JonLe Heating & Cooling. We've been serving the greater Cincinnati area since 1959.

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