Frozen Heat Pumps
Most winter HVAC related failures are due to frozen heat pumps. In the midst of tending to winter storms and dealing with snow, ice and ensuring your pipes don’t freeze, you may have forgotten to check your HVAC system and could end up with frozen heat pumps. Out of sight – out of mind during the summer months, heat pumps are indispensable to your comfort in the winter. Essentially, heat pumps operate like your A/C in reverse, absorbing heat from the air and using it to warm your home.
Typically, your system will activate a regular defrost cycle to reverse any build-up. However, systems that have a restricted airflow, are exposed to freezing rain or below freezing conditions, or which are not regularly maintained by a certified HVAC technician is a recipe for disaster ending with frozen heat pumps. This kind of reduced efficiency can cause equipment failure when you least expect it. If you’ve ever witnessed your system going through a defrost mode, the hissing, clanging, grinding, etc., might make you think it’s falling apart. Don’t worry – it’s just doing its job!
While a light frost on coils is normal, heavy build up could indicate a larger problem. Here are a few troubleshooting tips to avoid frozen heat pumps when the next big storm hits:
- Maintain good airflow – Keep area around heat pump clear of debris – especially snow. Also be sure to regularly change your air filters
- Don’t break the ice – If freezing rain or ice is causing your fan to work improperly, shut the unit down promptly to avoid damaging the blades and associated components. Make sure that copper coils are not frozen. Do NOT attempt to break heavy ice with a hammer or heavy object.
- Know your limits – If you equipment fails, call a professional.
- Get a preventative maintenance contract – A service agreement with LHT not only ensures that you system is properly and regularly evaluated by a certified technician, but also means you receive priority service in the event of an emergency.
So keep warm this winter and hopefully you won’t be dealing with frozen heat pumps.