Is it normal for a heat pump to freeze in the winter?
You're sipping your morning coffee and you look out your back window. You see your heat pump looks like it just got zapped by Jack Frost. What do you do? Heat pumps can ice up during the winter time. It is part of normal operations for it to be covered in a white frost or even light ice when the temperatures dip.
How does the defrost cycle work?
Heat pumps can ice up during the winter but will go through a defrost cycle to de-ice the coils. The reversing valve gets energized and turns the AC on (yes technically the defrost process is running the AC for a few minutes to send heat to the coil to defrost it. Hot refrigerant circulates through the coil allowing it to thaw while the back-up heat in your system kicks on to offset any temperature difference in the house. This process can create a whoosh sound out of the outdoor unit and usually takes between 2-10 minutes.
Here are some things to check before you call for service
- Is your outdoor unit blocked with leaves/pine straw
- Is your unit sunk in the ground with no place for the water/ice to drain off
- Gutter dripping water on top of unit
- Freezing rain causes top of unit to ice over
- Turn outdoor unit off, set your system to emergency heat and hose down the outside unit. if it ices up again, call us at 904-264-COOL.
When should you call us at 904-264-COOL for service?
- If your system has run a defrost cycle and your unit has not defrosted
- If your system is completely encased in ice
- If there's no heat coming out of the vents
- If your system is making strange noises