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Why Is My Heat Pump Icing Up?

Heat pumps are highly efficient heating and cooling machines. Sometimes during the winter, the outdoor condenser collects a layer of ice. Why does this happen? Should you be concerned when your heat pump ices up?

Why Is the Heat Pump Freezing Up & Should I Be Concerned?

Even cold, dry air contains water vapor. When the vapor is exposed to a temperature below dew point, it changes from a vapor into a liquid. When dew point is also below freezing, the liquid water turns to ice. This is the reason dew forms on grass in the summer and frost forms in the winter.

The perfect condition for a heat pump to ice up is when outdoor air is between 20 and 40 degrees and relative humidity approaches 70 percent or higher. These conditions are common during New Jersey winters.

A little bit of frost is completely normal. Most heat pumps today have a sensor to tell it when ice is forming. Before it becomes too thick, the defrost cycle automatically sends heat back through the outdoor coil to thaw the ice.

What to Do

If you check your heat pump and see a thin layer of ice starting to form, check back later to see if it’s still there. As long as the ice doesn’t linger, you have nothing to worry about. However, you should become concerned if the entire unit becomes encased in ice, including the top and inside of the unit. If you see this type of ice buildup happening, call a heating and cooling expert to address the problem quickly because something is probably wrong with the defrost cycle. Running a heat pump with a thick layer of ice can:

 

  • Decrease efficiency
  • Damage the equipment
  • Compromise comfort in your home

Please understand that it’s normal for a heat pump to stop heating your home for two to 10 minutes at a time when the weather is around freezing. This is the defrost cycle in action. If you notice this type of behavior from your heat pump, it’s working just like it should. That said, we do recommend using a backup heat source during the cold months for when temperatures drop into the extremes.

Heat Pump Repair & Replacement in Central NJ

Since 1977, Arctic Air Conditioning has been providing heat pump repair and heat pump replacement in Middletown, Princeton and surrounding areas in central New Jersey. For more help figuring out the reason behind your heat pump icing up, contact us today!

Testimonials
5 Rating |

”have been using arctic air for almost 30 years. excellent company.”

- Michael Frankel
5 Rating |

”Great service as usual.”

- Frank Del Giudice
5 Rating |

”I have been using Arctic air conditioning for many years. They are prompt and courteous, and never recommend maintenance that is unnecessary. The new system of text messages and emails…”

- Marianne Glanzman Armstrong
5 Rating |

”Technician arrived even a couple minutes early and efficiently completed the annual heating check up. I've always had good experiences with this company right from the day they bid on…”

- Rick Hayes
5 Rating |

”Javier was simply delightful. Friendly and efficient. He arrived at 9.30 am (I received an email very early morning to say he was on his way. He was supposed to…”

- Liz Wilkinson
5 Rating |

”Price as quoted, arrived on time , courteous technician .”

- Donald M Rankin
5 Rating |

”Very prompt in schedule arrival. Technicians are knowledgeable, customer focused and very professional.”

- Seth M Arbital
5 Rating |

”Very professional and reliable. I have been using them for years and am very satisfied.”

- Sandie Ritucci
5 Rating |

”Your technician Kevin was excellent. A credit to your company”

- Dennis Eisman
5 Rating |

”On time. Cleaned up. Friendly. Great job! Thanks Sammy!”

- Marilyn Fuhrman Kirsner
5 Rating |

”I am very happy with service ,Nicole was so helpful went above and beyond to help to fix problem,kind,patient ,knowledgeable compassionate employer, thank you Arctic Air and Nicole! Mariana”

- Marina Sosinski
5 Rating |

”Arctic air, these guys are prompt in returning calls and they are really good. Special mention to Jesse , an extremely nice gentleman, who changed our water pressure regulator, and…”

- S. SAN
5 Rating |

”Called Arctic Air at 4:50 yesterday evening after hearing a noise from the furnace. Technician Michael C arrived within an hour and diagnosed the problem. Could not have been more…”

- Ann A.
5 Rating |

”Knowledgeable Technicians, great service, great price”

- Dominic Laietta
5 Rating |

”Great service and on time”

- Jonathan Brown
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