In certain weather conditions, it is normal for the coil of a heat pump to be covered in light frost or ice. However, if the entire unit or coil should become covered with ice for a lengthy period of time, it is an indication of a problem which needs to be handled quickly to avoid damage to your equipment.
Heat pumps are designed to automatically de-ice themselves by going through a periodic defrost cycle about every 45 to 90 minutes. Depending on the type of unit you have, this will be accomplished through different methods. Some units use mechanical timers in conjunction with a defrost thermostat. Most units today utilize solid-state controls with temperature sensors.
If your unit is becoming severely iced-up, a malfunctioning defrost control or relay could be the problem. There are other possible causes, like low refrigerant or bad fan motor, which could also cause this. These require a service call to rectify.
However, before calling out a service tech, there are some items you can check and repair yourself:
1. See if the outdoor coil is blocked with leaves or snow. Turn off the unit, clear the coil and remove the ice. Do not chip away any ice with a sharp object or you will damage the coils and this is an expensive repair.
2. If the unit is located below a leaking gutter and water is dripping into the unit, the gutter will have to be repaired. This causes the top to ice over and the unit to ice more rapidly.
3. If the unit has sunk into the ground, then there is nowhere for ice to melt and drain off. The unit must be elevated. Also being below grade will cause the freon tubing to become crashed and then you have a more expensive repair coming.
We hope this information has helped you. Please take a moment to rate this J.A.C.S Comfort Clinic tip