Heat Pump Freezing Up? Heating Troubleshooting Tips for Cincinnati Homeowners

by Greg Leisgang on March 3, 2014

Posted in: Heat Pumps

heat pump freezing upYour heat pump is the key to heating your Cincinnati home efficiently, so if you see that it's freezing up, it's an understandable cause for concern. It's completely normal to see a light coating of frost on the coil of a heat pump's outdoor unit, or even some ice. It's designed to defrost periodically to melt this and prevent an excessive amount of buildup. When it defrosts, the unit switches to air conditioning mode for a brief period. Hot refrigerant then flows through the coil of the outdoor condenser, which melts any frost or ice. 

But Too Much Ice Can Cause Problems

When the condensing unit is covered in too much ice for too long a period, though, your heat pump can't defrost properly because it can't transfer the necessary warmth from the refrigerant to the outdoor air. If the issue isn't resolved, it can permanently damage the unit. There are some steps you can take to avert an ice accumulation:

  • Clear away any debris that's collected under and around the unit, such as snow, leaves and fallen branches, all of which can block the coil and obstruct proper airflow.
  • Check your gutters periodically and fix any blockages or leaks that could cause water to drip down on the unit.
  • After a storm, remove any ice or snow buildup using water from your garden hose, but turn the unit off first.

When to Call in a Professional

If the heat pump freezes up repeatedly, it can indicate one of the following potentially serious issues that require the expertise of a trusted HVAC contractor:

  • The sensor or thermostat isn't functioning.
  • There's a problem with the defrost relay.
  • The refrigerant level is too low.
  • There's an issue with the defrost control or timer.
  • The unit's reversing valve is stuck.
  • The fan motor has quit.
  • The solenoid coil in the reversing valve isn't working properly.
  • The heat pump isn't level because it's settled into the ground.

To learn more about troubleshooting heating issues in your Cincinnati area home, such as your heat pump freezing up, contact us at JonLe Heating & Cooling.

Image via Shutterstock.com

 Jonle Co. Inc. BBB Business Review  

Website Development & Management by NetCrafters