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Why Your Heat Pump is Icing Over

If you’re using a heat pump to keep warm this winter you may notice ice forming on the outside coil. If you do, don’t be alarmed. This isn’t necessarily a problem for the system. In fact, it’s to be expected if the weather is cold enough. Under certain circumstances, however, heat pump ice can actually become an issue. Read on to find out why your heat pump collects ice, and when to call for repairs.

Why It Happens

A heat pump warms the home by evaporating refrigerant to absorb thermal energy from the outside air. The refrigerant gas is then condensed inside to release the heat into the home. There are a couple of side effects that occur as a result of this operation. First, the temperature of the surrounding air drops as thermal energy is leeched from it. Second, condensation forms on the coil as the air is cooled past the dew point. If the temperature drops below freezing, the condensate forms ice on the coil.

When to Call for Repairs

Normally, a heat pump prevents ice from building up too far by using a defrost cycle. It will occasionally reverse the refrigerant flow in order to vent heat outside and melt the ice. If the defrost cycle malfunctions, though, your system will be in trouble.

Ice buildup will cut off access to the surrounding air, which the coil needs to gather enough thermal energy to heat the home. Eventually, the ice can even spread down the refrigerant line to other parts of the system and cause them to break down. Monitor the ice levels on your heat pump. If they’re covering more than half the coil, then you may want to call for repairs just in-case.

If your heat pump needs repairs, call Celco Heating and Air Conditioning. We offer a full range of heat pump services throughout Westport, CT. 

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