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There’s Ice on My Heat Pump. Do I Need Repairs?

iceBecause our winters are relatively mild in this part of the country, the heat pump is a great option to consider for year round comfort. These systems work just like central air conditioners in the summer, evaporating refrigerant indoors to remove heat from the air in the house and then condensing that refrigerant outdoors in order to release it into the air outside. In the winter, however, that process is reversed and heat from the air outside is absorbed, the refrigerant is then compressed, and it is condensed indoors to heat the house very efficiently.

Like any other residential HVAC system, of course, heat pumps are subject to occasional operational problems. And, like most other HVAC system problems, issues with your heat pump may not always be what they seem. If you see ice on your heat pump, then you certainly may need to contact a professional HVAC contractor in Wildwood. Sometimes, though, that ice is actually to be expected. Let’s take a closer look at the issue, and remember that we can answer any questions that you may have.

Ice May Actually Be Normal

So normal, in fact, that heat pumps have a defrost cycle on them! Consider this. When your heat pump is in its heating mode, the refrigerant evaporates outdoors. That can lead to icing as the heat pump transfers heat to the cool refrigerant. Periodically, the heat pump will switch to what is essentially its air conditioning mode, meaning that the outdoor unit acts as the condenser. This allows the condenser coils to warm up and melt ice that is building up. Indoors, you won’t feel cold air, though. The fan shuts off outside and the backup heat source keeps the heat pump generating heat indoors until the defrost cycle is finished.

Once the system has run its defrost cycle, that backup heat source shuts off. The system starts to run in its regular heating mode again, and most times you probably won’t even notice! Obviously, a block of ice enveloping your outdoor unit is a bad sign, but occasional ice like this is not a reason to schedule heat pump services.

It’s Not Always Normal, Though!

Particularly when you’re talking about ice forming on your heat pump during the summer season. This actually indicates that you may have a refrigerant leak, and that is one of the most serious problems that you may encounter with your heat pump. Because of a low refrigerant charge, your system is not able to draw enough heat out of the air in your house. The coil outside gets too cold, and moisture that has collected on it can freeze up. You may even see frost or some ice on your refrigerant lines themselves.

Ultimately, you don’t want to take any chances with your heat pump at any point in the year. When you suspect that something is wrong, or your concerned that a problem of some kind is developing, it’s always best to reach out to a member of our team.

Schedule your heating services with Fresh Air Heating & Cooling.

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