Actions to Take to Fix Your Heat Pump Coils Freeze

heat pump coils

An air-source heat pump provides one of the most efficient heating for homes in different climatic zones. That being said, they perform best when the temperatures are above the freezing point. Heat pump’s coils may freeze when they operate in very cold temperatures or even milder climates and when it happens, this can put your system at risk because it raises the energy costs and sets it up for damage.

Why Do Heat Pump Coils Freeze

During the heating operation, some little frost may accumulate on the coils. This is normal and it happens because the heat pump generates heat and the refrigerant takes on a gas form when it reaches the coil system in the outdoor unit. In turn, this makes it to condense and release some moisture. Heat pumps are usually equipped with a defrost component that addresses the problem of condensation and accumulation of frost. Simply, a defrost system melts the moisture as it freezes.

Whenever the heat pump system malfunctions, ice builds up on the coil and acts as an insulator thereby further compounding the problem leading to the accumulation of more ice. In normal circumstances, the defrost sensor immediately senses the ice formation and starts the defrosting cycle. Among the problems that causes coils to freeze include:

  • A dirty air filter
  • Low refrigerant levels
  • A faulty blower motor
  • Dirty coils
  • Dust and dirt buildup on the fan blades of the blower
  • Faulty components within the heat pump system such as the metering device and the sensor

Detecting Frozen Coils

Inasmuch as it is simple to detect to detect frozen coils, regular visual inspection is important especially during winter. Many homeowners suffer from frozen coils and the only time they realize there is a problem is when it is too late and their energy bills have skyrocketed or the system has shut off.

When you see ice building up on your heat pump system coils, you should:

  • Turn off the heat pump system or alternatively switch the unit to the supplemental heating element.
  • Remove the ice from the coil gently, but never use a sharp tool because this can have damaging effects on the coil system.
  • Gently pour warm water over the coils in order to melt the ice.

If the above steps do not work to resolve the problem, an expert HVAC contractor may help with further diagnosis. It is important that you have your heat pump serviced and maintained through annual service appointments. This scheduled maintenance will not only make your system operational, but will also limit the effects of wear and tear.