Heat pumps come equipped with a defrost cycle that activates at specific times. Usually the defrost cycle is triggered by a timer at 30-, 60- or 90-minute intervals. Some more expensive heat pumps also include a sensor that detects when frost is building up and then triggers the defrost cycle. Most of the time, the defrost cycle is strong enough to keep the heat pump functioning properly. However, a heat pump freezing up can be caused by several issues.
- Blocked airflow – A heat pump freezing up can be caused by blocked airflow, even when it’s not below freezing outside. Leaves and grass that are not mowed can prevent air from flowing properly though a unit. Even fences erected to block heat pumps from view can also block the airflow since snow or leaves can accumulate. This is the simplest issue, which homeowners can fix themselves.
- A blocked fan – In the winter, chunks of ice can block a heat pump’s fan from rotating properly. If this happens, homeowners should immediately turn off the unit to prevent further damage. Common causes of ice buildup within a unit are freezing rain or poorly aligned gutters, which funnel water into the heat pump.
- An uneven unit – Over time, heat pumps can become uneven. They’re typically installed on a concrete slab, which can settle over several years. Uneven units and slabs often hide pockets of water, which can cause a unit to ice up in winter. If this is the problem, the unit must be leveled to prevent it from freezing up in the future.
Removing leaves from a heat pump that’s frozen up is simple enough. For other issues, though, homeowners should consult a professional.
A heat pump freezing up doesn’t have to sideline you or your family. Contact the pros at Rinaldi’s Energy Solutions for more information about how to handle it or to schedule an appointment. We proudly serve homeowners in and around the Orlando area.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Orlando, Florida and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about freezing heat pumps and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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