frozen ac heat pump unit outside with snow around it

Why Does My Heat Pump Have Ice on It?

During winter, it is common for a thin layer of frost to gather on heat pump systems. If you’ve discovered that your heat pump is covered in a bit of ice, there is no need to worry. However, too much ice often indicates that there is a problem with your system. Continue reading to learn what causes ice to form on a heat pump and when you should be concerned about the ice on yours.

What Causes Frost to Form on a Heat Pump?

When it is cold outside and your heat pump is set to heat your home, it is likely that your system will develop a little bit of frost. As the heat pump pulls air from outside into the home, the moisture in the air around the system will accumulate and become frost that clings to the system.

Frost also tends to form on the coils of heat pumps. When the heat pump generates heat, the refrigerant turns to gas and condenses when it reaches the coils. This condensation can create frost on the coils, which is totally normal. In fact, heat pumps are designed to activate a defrost cycle to take care of this frost.

However, there are some circumstances in which you should be concerned about ice buildup on your heat pump.

When Should I Be Concerned about the Ice on My Heat Pump?

If you discover that your heat pump coils are completely frozen, your system is encased in ice, the top of your unit is covered in ice, or the defrost cycle isn’t activating, you will need to bring in an HVAC professional. The defrosting function on your system is only designed to take care of a small layer of frost, so if you are dealing with a significant amount of ice on your system, you’ve got a problem on your hands.

Some of the most common causes of excessive ice buildup on a heat pump include:

  • Leaves or other debris are blocking the heat pump and restricting airflow
  • The slab of concrete the heat pump is resting on has settled into the ground
  • A lack of routine maintenance has resulted in a system malfunction such as low refrigerant levels, a damaged fan motor, or a stuck reversing valve
  • An excess amount of freezing rain has fallen on your system

Comfort Experts Is Here to Help

If your heat pump is coated in ice, turn to Comfort Experts. Since 1962, our team has delivered the highest quality heating and air conditioning services to residents throughout Ft. Worth. As the leading HVAC company in the area, we have the state-of-the-art tools and technology necessary to repair your heat pump and get it back up and running properly in no time.

No one does comfort better than Comfort Experts. Give us a call at (817) 587-8859 or contact us online for a reliable heat pump repair.