Why Is There Ice On My Heat Pump?

February 5, 2017

Seeing frost on your outdoor unit of your heat pump is disconcerting. It can leave you wondering if you have a serious repair need. If your Ohio home has a heat pump, here’s what you need to know about frost, what it means and what to do about it.

Frost On Your Heat Pump: Don’t Panic!

First, it’s important to realize that frost on a heat pump, in small amounts, is not a reason to panic. A little bit of frost building up on the outdoor unit is a normal part of the function of a heat pump. This occurs because of the process of phase changes. When the water vapor condenses on the outside unit, and the temperature of the surface or the air around it is below freezing, the water freezes. Since the refrigerant in a heat pump is about 10 to 20 degrees colder than the outdoor air, this can bring the temperature of the unit below the freezing point, causing frost. This will occur when the outdoor temperature below 40 and the humidity is 70 percent or higher. Interestingly, when the temperature drops well below freezing, you’ll have fewer problems with frost buildup.

For this type of frost, just wait. Your unit has a defrost mode that will take care of this quickly. Check back in a little while to see if the frost has gone away. If it has, you have no reason to worry.

Too Much Ice on Your Heat Pump May Indicate a Problem

That said, frost buildup can indicate a problem. The key is in the amount of frost forming. If more frost is building up than the defrost mode can handle, you have a problem. Also, frost that occurs when it’s relatively dry outside can indicate a problem. Normal frost formation occurs when the air has a high relative humidity. When the humidity is low and you have frost, something is wrong.

What Causes Excess Ice on Heat Pumps?

If you have too much frost, there are a number of potential reasons. Some of these include:

  • The unit is low on refrigerant
  • The unit’s defrost cycle is not working
  • The unit’s auxiliary heat system is not working (this system kicks in during defrost mode to keep your home warm)

In each of these instances, your best line of defense is an HVAC technician who understands the function of heat pumps. In Morrow, Ohio, that company is Rick’s Heating & Cooling. Rick’s Heating & Cooling offers heat pump repair services that can get to the bottom of your excess frost. Whether you just need a refrigerant top-off or you have a unit in need of repair, Rick’s Heating & Cooling can get the job done quickly, so you can get back to enjoying your family in a warm, comfortable home.

Call Rick’s Heating & Cooling for Heat Pump Repair in Ohio Today

If you’re noticing excessive frost buildup in your home, call Rick’s Heating & Cooling today. We offer a comprehensive list of heat pump services in Morrow, OH and the surrounding communities. Call 513-899-6005 or schedule a repair online today.