If you notice ice on your heat pump’s coils, it’s cause for concern. In most cases, homeowners require expert help when coils develop an unusual amount of frost or ice. However, there are a few steps you can take to troubleshoot the problem before you call in the pros.
When do coils freeze?
You may think that coils are prone to freezing only when wintry conditions present. While it’s true that cold exterior temperatures and the accumulation of snow and ice are conditions that promote frozen coils, they’re not the only reasons. In fact, in milder climates frozen coils may also be common, due to system components malfunctioning.
Why does it occur?
Beyond climate factors, icy coils can result from a number of conditions. A small amount of frost on the coils is normal, and heat pumps utilize a defrost cycle to take care of it. If the refrigerant charge is low, the heat pump can’t effectively melt the frost, which will continue to build up. As ice encases the coil, problems result such as poor heating and cooling capacity and reduced system efficiency.
What can you do about ice on your heat pump’s coils?
Other causes of ice on the coils include improper airflow, dirt buildup and malfunctioning components. If you notice ice buildup on the coils, you should check:
- The air filter. If it’s dirty, it will impede the flow of air into the unit, or it may allow dirt to access the coil. Replace the filter and start the unit, and wait to see if the defrost cycle performs.
- The outdoor unit. If there’s a buildup of old leaves or other vegetation around the unit, it’s likely blocking airflow into the condenser. Clear out whatever is blocking the unit, and run the heat pump so the defrost cycle can remove the ice.
Other conditions that lead to icy coils require professional assistance, such as dirty coils, a malfunctioning fan or motor, or a bad sensor.
For expert help dealing with ice on your heat pump’s coils, contact Donald P. Dick Air Conditioning. We serve homeowners in Fresno and the surrounding area.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in the greater Fresno, California area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about Frozen Heat Pump Coils and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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