When your Florida home is heated by a heat pump, it’s actually being warmed by outdoor heat energy that the heat pump captures and brings into your home. As heat energy is taken from the air next to the heat pump, the air temperature drops and moisture can condense and freeze on the pump itself.
Typically, a heat pump will go into defrost mode, running in reverse for a short period of time in order to melt any ice, and warming your home with a backup heat source if applicable. But if the defrost cycle isn’t working, or if the outdoor unit is exposed to other sources of ice, you may wind up with a frosty heat pump.
If you see a little bit of frost on the outdoor unit, it’s likely nothing to worry about. Defrost cycles may initiate on a mechanical timer, or when a thermometer registers a certain temperature. If the heat pump is on a timer and you notice excess frost buildup between cycles, you may want to check the operating manual to see if you can decrease the time between cycles.
When the Heat Pump Ices Over
If you see a great deal of frost is building up to the point where the unit is encased in ice, check to make sure there’s nothing — for example, a house gutter or an overhanging branch dripping water onto the unit. You should also clear any obstructions from the three feet around the unit, including tools, bins and overgrowth. Air must be allowed to flow around the heat pump in order for it to work effectively.
If a frosty heat pump is unobstructed but still iced over, turn it off and use a hose to remove the ice. When all the ice is clear, turn the unit on again. If it continues to ice up, call an HVAC service professional.
To learn more about what to do about a frosty heat pump, contact the HVAC experts today at All American Heating and Cooling!
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