First of all, it’s important to note that it’s normal for external heat pumps to develop some frost in the winter. Most heat pumps have a defrosting mechanism that will periodically melt this icy coating to ensure proper operation. But problems can arise if thicker frost forms, or if the ice stays for too long. To understand why, it’s helpful to know how heat pumps work.
How Heat Pumps Work
Heat pumps need access to outside air to work. They function much like refrigerators, but in reverse, absorbing heat from the cold outside and transferring it into your warm home. This system relies on the flow of air through the pump, as well spinning fans, to get the job done.
During this process, the heat pump creates condensation, and in cold weather that condensation can easily accumulate and freeze. Over time, this can impede the functionality of the pump, and eventually cause damage.
How You Can Tell if Your Heat Pump Is Frozen?
The easiest way to know if your heat pump is frozen is to do a visual inspection. Remember that not all frost is bad—it’s only if it stays around for a while that you might have a problem. Be sure to check back after a few hours to see if the freezing is still there, or has even gotten worse.
Why Is Your Heat Pump Frozen?
There are a few reasons that your heat pump might have frozen over:
- Weather: Freezing rain or sleet can overwhelm your pump’s normal defrosting process.
- Debris: Leaves or other debris can block the air flow around your pump, allowing condensation to form.
- Maintenance: Your pump’s defroster could be dysfunctional, or another element could be promoting ice build-up.
How to Unfreeze the Heat Pump
It’s possible to unfreeze a heat pump on your own, however, it can be tricky. For safety’s sake, you’ll need to ensure it’s turned off before attempting to remove the ice. Doing so with a tool can cause damage, so using warm water is best.
However, heat pumps are delicate devices, and often this fix is only a temporary one. It’s often best to contact a professional who can make a permanent fix.
Hire a Professional
Need heat pump repair in the Frederick, MD area? Contact GAC now and we’ll help you unfreeze your heat pump. Our professional technicians provide great customer service when you need it, at a price you can afford.