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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
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”We had a gas leak that no one could seem to find and Sam really saved the day! He not only found it he waited as NJNG repaired their meter…”

- Angela Testa
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”The techician was professional, knowledgeable experiences and provided helpful information. Thank you!”

- CeeJay
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”Great company with experienced technicians at a reasonable cost. They installed (2) HVAC zones 3 years ago and perform summer and winter HVAC maintenance every year.”

- Robert Rodriguez
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”Thank you for your immediate response to my heating problem. Your technician was thorough and very knowledgeable.”

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”An excellent family owned and operated business local to Old Bridge residents. Mike B. from Sales is very honest and only sells you what you need. Howard and Ross, the…”

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”Installed my Steam Humidifier and electrical to connect to it.”

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”What a great experience! All three guys were professional and knowledgeable. Yesterday I found a new plumber!”

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”By far the most respectful and trustworthy and pleasant experience I have ever had that I can recall with an HVAC personnel”

- Janet
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”We have been a client of Arctic Air for many years. They have installed new heating and air conditioner units as well as a new humidifier for us. They are…”

- Rita Saunders
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”The tech was on time, professional and shared multiple options for solve repair. Mike M. and Artic I would recommend and use again.”

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”Great fast response. Set up this appointment through Home Depot.”

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”Customer service is always on point. If we need anything they are quick to respond back to us and send someone out to assess the situation. They cover their shoes…”

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”Nick was really great and provided top notch service. Would recommend him and Arctic Air to anyone needing assistance.”

- Kostas Skordalos
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”We highly recommend Artic air conditioning, today was very cold and furnace wouldn't stay on. Arrived as promise, Tech David I. was very professional and fix the issue, price was…”

- Rox BO
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”Someone recommended Arctic to me so I made an appointment for service on my furnace and humidifier and Alfredo their technician was very professional as well as very thorough. I…”

- Florence Anne Barry
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