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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 |

”Excellent. Helped bring a old system back to life”

- Les Adler
5 Rating |

”Joe the technician was very honest, professional and took the time to explain what he was doing in detail. I would highly recommend them very efficient.”

- Pierre Crawley
5 Rating |

”It’s the service & professionalism you can expect when you call Arctic Air & Plumbing. We have been customers for what seems like forever. Howard & Ross have built one…”

- Stephen Dick
5 Rating |

”I have been using Arctic Air for about 20 years. They have installed a complete new air conditioning system for us along with radiant heat on our first floor. They…”

- Anna Carlucci
5 Rating |

”I was very impressed by the professionalism of the Artic Air team. My hot water heater broke and I had a new one within one day. They were very responsive,…”

- Wade Olsson
5 Rating |

”Very promptly diagnosed problem and only a day to purchase and install parts needed. Very friendly.”

- Belinda Lijeron
5 Rating |

”We called to have our water heater replaced. After they called back and said to send pictures over, we received a quote within a few hours and an appt to…”

- Amy Rentowitz
5 Rating |

”With everything that is going on Andres Alvarenga was really good. He did what he had to do, and gave us a bottle of hand sanitizer. He also respect our…”

- carol katz
5 Rating |

”John was professional & worked quickly to solve my issues! Highly recommend Artic!”

- Carol Sebastian
5 Rating |

”Wonderful experience. Everyone was very professional and service was fantastic. They even loaned us two window air conditioners until our new unit could be installed. The technicians were on time,…”

- Diana Hatala
5 Rating |

”Very professional and knowledgeable.”

- Ravi Ravipati
5 Rating |

”Chris the technician showed up on time, went through the entire HVAC system and explained thoroughly what items needed repaired. Their professionalism, quality of their work is exceptional at a…”

- Mark Zangrando
5 Rating |

”great service tech”

- harvey shanes
5 Rating |

”The technician listened to what the problem was and immediately found what the problem was.. He was knowledgeable, professional and comforting when I thought I was going to lose my…”

- richard schlanger
5 Rating |

”Brendan was awesome. Wasn’t a salesman. Good attitude.”

- Brian Monzo
4 Rating |

”Very positive experience, thorough and professional.”

- Warren Sekino
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