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Touchstone Heating & Air Inc. Blog

Why Ice is Forming on Your Heat Pump

If you’re using a heat pump to stay warm this winter, you may start to notice ice forming on the outside part of your system. This doesn’t necessarily mean that your system is in trouble. In fact, it’s pretty much bound to happen if you start up your heat pump on especially cold days. Ice on your heat pump can become a problem under certain circumstances. Read on to find out where heat pump ice comes from, and how to deal with it.

Why Ice Forms

Ice forms on the heat pump as a side effect of the heating process. When in heating mode, the outside coil of the heat pump evaporates refrigerant in order to leech thermal energy from the air around the unit. As the air temperature drops around the heat pump, condensation forms on the coil. If the temperature drops below freezing in the vicinity of the heat pump, the condensate on the coil will freeze and become ice.

This isn’t normally a problem because all heat pumps are equipped with defrost cycles. Every once in a while, the heat pump will activate its defrost cycle to melt any ice off the coil that may have built up. If the defrost cycle malfunctions, however, that’s when you start having problems.

Problems Ice can Cause

If the ice is allowed to cover over half the heat pump, it will severely restrict the system’s ability to siphon heat from the surrounding area. The weight of the ice can also permanently warp the coil and require that it be replaced. If you see extensive ice buildup that isn’t going away, call for heat pump repair services.

If your heat pump needs repair, call Touchstone Heating & Air Inc. We offer heat pump services throughout Lake City, FL. 

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