The Importance of a Balanced System

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If your heat pump freezes over, it’s telling you something important. While light frosting may come and go on an outdoor coil in winter, thick ice formation on an indoor or outdoor heat pump coil is never normal in any season. Usually, it’s a symptom of imbalance somewhere in the system. Heat pump energy efficiency and performance are severely diminished by coil icing. In extreme cases, the unit may shut down entirely. Here are typical reasons a heat pump freezes over, and what you can do about it.

Insufficient Airflow

The temperature of a heat pump indoor coil in cooling mode normally remains above 40 degrees Fahrenheit. If system airflow drops below specifications, however, heat transfer declines and coil refrigerant temperature plunges. Condensation on the coil freezes, initiating the cycle of ice accumulation. Common reasons for low airflow include:

  • Dirty air filter. A clogged filter reduces air volume through the coil, potentially causing icing. Changing the air filter is a simple DIY task—a qualified HVAC service tech can show you how if you don’t know—and should ideally be performed monthly.
  • Closed or obstructed vents. Balanced system airflow depends on open supply and return vents in individual rooms. If one or more vents are manually shut or blocked by furniture, drapes or other obstructions, airflow through the coil may be insufficient to prevent icing. Keep all vents clear and don’t close vents in unoccupied rooms.

Low Refrigerant

Proper refrigerant charge is a critical balance. As refrigerant pressure declines below specifications, refrigerant temperature drops, too. Coil icing soon follows. Low refrigerant charge is usually caused by leakage. A qualified HVAC service technician has the equipment and expertise to pinpoint and repair refrigerant leaks, then restore the refrigerant charge to manufacturer’s specifications.

Defective Defroster

If light winter frosting on an outdoor coil accumulates into a layer of thick ice, the heat pump’s automatic defroster may have failed. Professional troubleshooting is required to isolate the problem, replace defective components and verify proper repair.

For qualified service if your heat pump freezes over, in the greater Cincinnati area, contact Apollo Home Heating, Cooling and Plumbing.

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- Randy B.
"We scheduled an estimate AND a tune-up. We knew something was wrong with our furnace, but hoped we could make it through the rest of the season. Upon telling Bill what our furnace was doing, he warned us immediately what the possible outcome was going to be; a cracked heat exchanger. He watched the flames roll backward, tested carbon monoxide levels, which were so high they meter’s last reading was 5,600 before saying “high”. He immediately shut it down, tagged it, and explained that with levels that high and children in our home he wanted off right away. He continued his inspection and showed us via a camera that not only was it cracked in multiple places, but had holes all over it. He gave us a few options for repairing it; his knowledge as well as genuine concern was beneficial and refreshing. Luckily we also scheduled an estimator, Micah, to come too and we were able to get costs between repairing and replacing (with several options). We decided to replace with a much higher efficiency furnace and one sized properly to our home. Hands down, not only did they both provide us great service and knowledge, but without sounding dramatic, they may have saved our lives. This was our first time calling Apollo, but it won’t be our last."
- Sarah B.
"Apollo is an excellent company. I always receive great service. Alex A. was professional and friendly. He kept me informed during the process of checking my furnace and heat pump to make sure they were working properly. The company makes sure you are notified who is coming and when they are on the way. All my interactions with the company have been wonderful."
- Beverly S.



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