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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 |

”We weren't sure how serious our plumbing problem was, but Jesse, based on his knowledge, insured us it was minor and made the necessary correction. Jesse was great. We are…”

- Thomas Morris
5 Rating |

”I used Arctic Air Conditioning for an air conditioner coil replacement and they have serviced my furnace as well. They are professional, clean, and reasonably priced.”

- Eric Miller
5 Rating |

”I’m not sure to where to begin. Arctic Air and their employees are the best in the business. I did a home improvement project which included brand new systems (furnace,…”

- Jose M Castillo
5 Rating |

”Came when the said they would and fixed the problem. Price seemed fair. Robert is very pleasant to deal with and very knowledgeable. I’d definitely recommend them.”

- Deirdre Igoe
5 Rating |

”called at 10 PM becuase of no heat-service arrived at 830 AM, fixed at 845. Whats better than that. Javier was very informative of problem.”

- Mitch Horowitz
5 Rating |

”Number one company in NJ. They are very professional. Highly recommended. Don't be afraid to do business with them.”

- Nefailljubani N
5 Rating |

”the best service ,they are very professional.”

- Nefail Ljubani
5 Rating |

”They are very prompt and professional. Service personnel are very knowledgeable and efficient.”

- Marsha Smook Rosenbaum
5 Rating |

”Quick response even over weekend. Pleasant customer service. Repairman (Robert) showed up right on time, quickly fixed the problem with our furnace (which was not heating), and took the time…”

- joseph ciccolella
5 Rating |

”We called Arctic air because we were fed up with the former company we had used. I called Arctic air on Wednesday spoke to a very nice woman, and set…”

- S Berns
5 Rating |

”I use Arctic Air for all my air conditioning and heating needs (conventional central air, ductless air systems, and steam boiler and radiator heat). They consistently provide outstanding customer service,…”

- Darlene S
5 Rating |

”Always professional, honest and courteous. I highly recommend them for any of your HVAC issues and servicing.”

- Robert Ricciardi
5 Rating |

”Very quick and professional. Not sure if the best price but happy with the service.”

- Jimmy Kim
5 Rating |

”Arctic Air team is great! Scheduling is convenient. Email and text reminders are great. The technicians are on time, professional and courteous. Highly recommended!”

- Ran Yan
4 Rating |

”The estimate was the most in depth and accurate for my house. They worked with me on price and arranged financing. A large crew installed the system. The pipe layout…”

- Eli Terry
5 Rating |

”Unlike Corbin Electric who does not respond to service calls Arctic Air with on call at 7:30 AM sent a GREAT technician Robert Mauceri who was able to take care…”

- Anthony
5 Rating |

”Very professional service technician... stayed late to make sure my issue was resolved...”

- Anthony Scullari
5 Rating |

”I highly recommend Arctic Air! Fred was an amazing technician and had my system up and running again in 10 mins! Thank you for the great work! If I could…”

- Erin Hughes Murray
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