The greater Cincinnati area is in the middle of a harsh winter, showing no signs of letting up. For homeowners with heat pumps, a major concern can be of the heat pump icing up. While a certain amount of ice or frost on your coil is normal, it can spell disaster when the entire unit ices over.

Defrost Cycle

All heat pumps, regardless of the age, have a defrost cycle built in to them. The older units have a mechanical timer that triggers the cycle, while newer units are controlled by a solid state control module and temperature sensors. Either way, the system itself works the same. The entire system is reversed as the air conditioning is turned on, which causes the refrigerant to heat up. After a certain amount of time or after reaching the desired temperature, the system will shut off and resume normal function.

A Cause for Concern

If your heat pump defrost cycle doesn’t kick on periodically, it’s likely not defrosting the ice. And, if your heat pump ices up too far, it won’t work. There are many causes for the defrost cycle to not work, and most of them have to do with the internal parts of the heat pump itself. You should call an HVAC professional to help if you suspect this.

Some Maintenance You Can Do

There is, however, a few different things you can do to keeping it from icing over. If there’s a gutter that’s allowing water to run onto the unit, get it fixed before it causes any damage. In freezing rain or other icy weather, turn the unit off and break the ice away from the unit. Just ensure that you don’t use any sharp tools to prevent damage to the coil. And lastly, you should check the coil for debris and remove if necessary.

If you have any questions or concerns about your heat pump icing up, or any other home comfort concerns, please contact Apollo Home Heating, Cooling and Plumbing.

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