The Whys and Hows of a Heat Pump That Freezes Over
If you have a heat that pump freezes over, you could be in for a miserable time. While it’s normal to see a little frost now and then, having a heat pump sheathed in an icy tomb can cause damage to the entire system and prevent it from heating and cooling your home effectively.
Why Does It Happen?
In a nutshell, it’s all about the water vapor. Even the cold, dry air outside your Cincinnati home contains small amounts of water vapor. When it reaches its dew point, the water vapor undergoes a phase change into liquid form.
Now consider your heat pump’s refrigerant runs up to 20 degrees colder than the air outdoors. If the weather is just right — around 20 to 40 degrees with a relative humidity above 70 percent — there’s a good chance that frost will form all over the condenser coils.
To prevent frost formation, a heat pump occasionally undergoes a defrost cycle. This essentially takes all of the heat that’s being transferred inside your home and instead sends it back outdoors through the condenser coils, thus melting the ice that forms around the unit.
Unfortunately, this may not be enough to remove severe ice formation. In some cases, an underlying problem may prevent the defrost cycle from working.
How You Can Fix It
Here are a few quick steps you can take if and when you have a heat pump that freezes over:
- Turn the heat pump off at the circuit breaker. You don’t want it to suddenly energize while you’re working on the problem.
- Next, grab a garden hose and spray the heat pump with water until the ice melts. Hammering or chipping away the ice could cause major damage.
- If it’s warm enough, you can reactivate the heat pump and run it on “fan” mode until the ice melts.
The next time your heat pump freezes over, contact the trusted professionals at Apollo Home Heating, Cooling and Plumbing. Since 1910, we’ve helped greater Cincinnati area homeowners with their home heating and cooling needs.
Image via Shutterstock.com
"Ernie & Mike did a superb job on my new furnace and A/C installation. Despite having more than a day’s work to do, they came in and stayed until the job was done. They were organized, efficient, and protected the rest of the house well. Got both furnace and A/C installed the same day. Ernie was courteous, informative, and clearly knew his job better than anyone I’ve encountered before. The units look so good guests now get The Tour of our new system. Apollo is clearly not a fly-by-night company. I would recommend them to anyone in need of a new furnace and/or A/C."
- Jerry A.
"I called Apollo because of a water leak I thought I had in our upstairs shower going into the kitchen. Robbie came and assured me everything was fine & looked at all the other plumbing. He ended up changing a few pipes for our washer & clearing a drain. He was very nice & knowledgeable with all my questions. I ended up signing up for the care plan & was very happy with my service."
- Cassandra B.
"The team at Apollo exceeded my expectations. As a business owner, my attention to the details and commitment to providing excellent service is high. From the sales rep. to the installation team, everyone’s performance was outstanding. For example, the installation team went to great lengths to protect our floors, placing floor runners and across the wood floors and up the stairs. They even were spot washing walls upon their departure. I highly recommend this company."
- 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.