Tuckers Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing Blog

Watch for Heat Pump Ice This Winter

Ice and snow are not exactly out of place this time of year, and most of the time their little more than a minor annoyance. However, ice on your heat pump can be quite a problem under the wrong circumstances. If you notice ice forming on your heat pump during the winter, read on to determine whether or not it’s actually a problem.

Ice Formation

Ice forms on the heat pump as a result of how the system operates. When in heating mode, the system evaporates refrigerant to absorb ambient thermal energy from the air around it. This causes the temperature of the air around the outside coil to drop, and condensate to form on the coil itself. If the temperature around the coil drops below freezing, the condensate will form ice.

Is it a Problem?

Ice that is allowed to build unchecked on the heat pump coil will definitely cause problems. As the coil is covered in ice, it will lose its access to the thermal energy it needs to heat the home. The ice buildup can become so heavy that it will can even warp the coil, requiring that it be replaced. Ice can also spread from the coil to other parts of the heat pump, causing further malfunctions.

Normally, this isn’t a problem because heat pumps are designed to deal with ice buildup. Many systems include a defrost cycle, which allows them to melt the ice off the coil in regular intervals. If the defrost cycle malfunctions, though, heat pump ice can very quickly become problematic. Call for repairs as soon as you notice your heat pump is more than half-covered in ice.

Tuckers Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing offers heat pump repair services throughout Bethesda, MD. Call today to schedule an appointment with one of our expert technicians.