Seeing ice on your heat pump coils can seem unusual; after all, your heat pump is designed to warm up your home. If you see ice on your heat pump, there are a few things you need to know about this particular situation.
1: A Little Frost Is Normal
With a heat pump, a little frost on your coils is a normal thing. When your heat pump is working hard to keep your home warm, the refrigerant inside of your heat pump is going to turn into gas. When that gas hits your condenser coils outside, and it is cold outside, a little frost is going to develop on your coils.
This is normal and natural. Your heat pump runs in cycles. Eventually, after a certain point, the defrost cycle on your heat pump should turn on. When the defrost cycle turns on, the frost should go away.
2: How the Defrost Cycle Works
When you live in a cold climate, you need a heat pump with a defrost cycle. The defrost cycle doesn't run all the time because it is not necessary to run all the time. Your heat pump should have temperature sensors on it that will detect when frost is building upon the coils. When the sensors are triggered, the defrost cycle will be engaged, and it will run for around ten to fifteen minutes, long enough to allow the frost to melt.
3: Signs the Frost or Ice Is a Problem
Some frost is natural; however, too much frost can be an issue. If the defrost cycle is not working correctly, it can result in the unit icing over. If the unit ices over, air will not be able to go through the fins. This can result in damage to your heat pump. That is why it is important to know when the frost is an issue.
If the heat pump is entirely frozen over and has been frozen for an extended period of time, that is a sign of a problem. If both the top and sides are covered in ice, that is an issue. Usually, a heat pump is entirely covered in ice like this is a sign the defrost cycle isn't working correctly.
4: What to Do
If your heat pump isn't defrosting properly, you can check the air filter to see if it is clogged. If it is, replace the filter. Remove any debris if it is built-up around the fins on the condensing fan.
If that doesn't fix the problem, you are going to want to call in an HVAC professional to see if a larger issue, such as a broken defrost feature, is resulting in over icing of your unit. Reach out to a heat pump repair service today for more information.