It’s not uncommon for your heat pump’s outside unit to occasionally ice over during the winter months. However, when frost and ice encapsulate the condenser/compressor, or icing becomes a regular occurrence, it’s probably a sign of a more serious problem.During certain weather conditions, frost and ice can cover a heat pump’s outside coil. This is when a built-in defrost timer or thermostat should activate the heat pump’s reversing valve – switching the unit to air conditioning mode – to help melt away the ice.
Although cases of severe icing require the attention of a certified heat pump technician, the homeowner can try a few steps him- or herself first:
- Make sure snow, leaves or other debris are not blocking the outdoor coils.
- Repair leaking gutters that might be dripping freezing water onto the unit.
- Inspect and replace the indoor air filter to eliminate airflow restrictions.
- Verify that the heat pump condenser/compressor is not sunk into the ground, which prevents snow and ice from melting and running off.
- Never attempt to remove ice from the outside unit with a sharp object, as you can easily damage the condensing coil; rinse the unit with a water hose to remove the frosty buildup.
If the above actions fail to correct an icing problem, it’s time to call in professionals. The certified technician should perform the following tasks to identify and repair the problem:
- Replace faulty defrost controls, relays or timers
- Identify and eliminate any restrictions
- Verify proper refrigerant level
- Check reversing valve, solenoid and fan motor
Homeowners in search of expert advice regarding heat pump icing should contact Overland Park Heating and Cooling. Since 1983, we have proudly served the Greater Kansas City area.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Overland Park, Kansas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).
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