Keeping Your AC System Cleaner

What To Do About A Heat Pump That Has Ice Buildup

by Yolanda White

One problem that you may encounter with a heat pump is that it will freeze up when the weather outside is very cold. When this happens, you'll need to know the proper steps to take to defrost the heat pump. While it's common for ice to build up from time to time on a heat pump, you can take preventative steps to stop it from happening excessively, which will keep the heat pump running smoothly. Here are some things you should know about dealing with a heat pump that freezes.

Understand Why Ice Can Form On The Heat Pump

Ice formation is a common problem with heat pumps due to the nature of how they work. The pump takes the cold air from inside your home and transfers it outside your home. If the humidity outside is higher than usual, the heat pump may freeze up and have ice formations on it. A heat pump is supposed to get rid of the ice automatically through a defrost mode, but it's possible that it still is not effective at removing all of the ice that has formed.

Your heat pump will have drain holes on the bottom of the housing, which is where water drains when the ice on the pump melts. If ice ends up clogging the drain holes, ice can build up inside the unit and eventually lead to your heat pump failing.

Know How To Clear Ice From The Heat Pump

It's important to monitor a heat pump in the winter for ice formation. If you do see ice, it's important that you don't chip away at it, since it can cause damage to the fins on the unit that air passes through. You'll want to remove all the ice with heat to do it safely.

One trick for applying heat is to turn on the air conditioning, which will remove heat from your house and move it outside and should provide enough heat to melt the ice. It only takes a few minutes to do and won't radically drop the temperature of your home by doing so. It is also safe to turn on the air conditioning in the winter to do this, unlike a central air conditioning condenser. You could also use your hair dryer in order to safely melt all the ice

If you have questions about defrosting a heat pump, reach out to a local heating repair contractor for assistance with this task.