Winter's chill can be hard on your HVAC system's outdoor unit. Heat pumps are prone to freeze up during the winter, so while you’re preoccupied with business indoors, don’t let your heat pump become an “out of sight, out of mind” issue.
Below are some tips to prevent your heat pump from freezing over, as well as steps to take if it's already happened!
#1. Remove blockages to allow airflow: if it snows, be sure that no snow is restricting airflow. Clear leaves and keep grass trimmed around the outside unit.
#2. Replace inside filters regularly and clean the evaporator coils to prevent dust collection.
#3. Make sure gutters are not dripping water onto the unit.
If freezing has already occurred, shut off the unit (keeping it on could damage the unit) and pour water over the unit to melt the ice (do NOT attempt breaking up ice with heavy tools!). In addition, check to make sure no damage has been done to the copper coolant lines, this might be a job for a professional plumber!
A little bit of frost on the heat pump is normal (your heat pump’s defrost function usually fixes the problem); however, if your unit is entirely encased in a thick layer of frost or ice, you have a definite problem. Ice builds up when condensation forms around the condenser and evaporator, and a frozen heat pump can be caused by low refrigerant levels, issues with the defrost controls, malfunctioning outdoor fan motors, and more. At F.H. Furr, we know that that maintaining your heating and cooling systems can mean the difference between an uncomfortable home with a high utility bill, and true home comfort and efficiency. If your system is continually freezing over, it's time to call in a plumber to perform and inspection and diagnose the underlying issue! Contact F.H. Furr for more information on what you can do to ensure your heat pump is doing its duty!
Watch the video below to see how a heat pump works!