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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 |

”From the first phone call to the service person that arrived I was pleasantly surprised. They were on time and had no hidden fees. The work was minor but the…”

- Patrick Smith
5 Rating |

”Fred was a pleasure to work with. He was very knowledgeable. He explained what needed to be done and did it in an efficient manner. Would recommend”

- Annamaria Saraceni
5 Rating |

”Great Experience the technician was very thorough”

- David Hocheiser
5 Rating |

”Great experience with generator maintenance. Professional and fixed all issues”

- Spencer Markowitz
5 Rating |

”Great company great technician showed up at agreed time and did a great job with changing out my water heater would recommend Artic Air!”

- ARR Babygio
5 Rating |

”Have used attic air to replace two sump pumps. Next day service, affordable, explains the process. Would definitely use again and recommend.”

- Daniel Roman
5 Rating |

”Quick response. Tech was at my house within 2 hrs. He was very professional and answered all questions. I had a new hot water heater, installed and working within 5…”

- Bob Zarro
5 Rating |

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

- Sherman Lyerly
5 Rating |

”Came to give estimate and make suggestions on the items and job.”

- KEVIN COYNE
5 Rating |

”Always professional and responsive. Did both my water heater and hvac system.”

- A Rivera
5 Rating |

”Had central a/c and furnace replaced. Beginning of the year prices are very reasonable. Install crew showed up on time, Did a professional job, courteous and polite. Cleaned up the…”

- Rich B.
5 Rating |

”I will recommend Arctic Air any time, they assisted me over the years and I also recommended a friend which they in turn were very pleased. The workers are very…”

- Merlina Adams
5 Rating |

”Very happy. Arctic was great again. Nick came out to repair toilet issues in a couple bathrooms. Absolutely Professional. Highly Recommended.”

- Big Blue
5 Rating |

”Andres was detailed and thorough with our annual maintenance for summer”

- Aku Patel
5 Rating |

”Totally biased as my youngest is the installation manager. Friends, neighbors, and family are happy customers over many years. The one thing I have heard is the owner will do…”

- Burke Mawby
5 Rating |

”David was very knowledgeable and got the job done. Will recommend to my friends and family.”

- Robert Sanchez
5 Rating |

”Very professional staff who were able to successfully fix multiple issues we had after moving into a new residence. All practiced COVID precautions and wore shoe coverings while in the…”

- Janet Schook
5 Rating |

”Excellent and professional service. My tech Joe Varga was friendly and knowledgeable. I definitely recomment Arctic Air.”

- Sy Wodakow
5 Rating |

”We had Nicholas D. come to our home to install the new IComfort thermostat. He was very patient, professional and the installation was done well. No mess no stress!”

- Marie Thermidor
5 Rating |

”Very professional company. Fixed my sumpump in a couple hours. Definately would recommend to anyone.”

- Krystle Soto
5 Rating |

”BRAVO ARCTIC AIR! A technician from Arctic Air came to our house because there was an uneven distribution of heat throughout the home. Prior to their arrival, three (3) technicians…”

- Jeff Padovano
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