Heat pumps are marvels of engineering, but can require troubleshooting in certain situations.
Troubleshooting a heat pump with too much ice buildup is a somewhat common task for HVAC owners. Why does this happen? Is it ever normal? Let’s go over a few of the reasons for ice or frost on the coils of a heat pump.
It’s completely normal for a heat pump's coils to have some frost covering them. In fact, it's okay if a small bit of ice coats the coils. But when the coils become encased in ice, this can pose a problem a homeowner must fix as soon as possible.
Given how normal ice or frost build up is, heat pumps have special defrost modes that will melt the ice. The defrost mode turns the heat pump into a sort of air conditioner and uses the heat generated to melt the frost or ice on the coils. So one of the biggest reasons for ice buildup is a malfunctioning defrost mode.
A second reason for ice or frost build up is water flowing or dripping onto the coils, then freezing. This is very common with a leaking or clogged gutter, where overflowing water lands on the coils, then due to the cold weather, the water freezes.
A third reason involves a covered or blocked heat pump coil. Common outdoor debris that can cause a build-up of frost or ice includes leaves or a snowdrift from an overhanging roof.
If you notice an excessive amount of ice forming around the coils of your heat pump, you may need to take troubleshooting steps to figure out what’s going wrong. Some homeowners can figure out the cause themselves, but for those who can’t, you can contact our team of experts at Jerry’s Air Conditioning and Heating.