Three Ways To Prevent Your Heat Pump From Becoming An Ice Cube

Heat pumps are great at keeping a home comfortably warm, but a common problem with these appliances is they have a tendency to freeze up when it's snowing and/or temperatures are really low. Although the machine does activate a defrost cycle to help get rid of the ice, that's energy that could be better used on other tasks. Here are two things you can do to keep your heat pump nice and ice-free this season.

Keep the Machine Clear

A heat pump that's covered in snow, leaves, or other debris have a higher risk of icing over. This is because debris stops the air from flowing freely through the appliance. Since heat pumps function like reverse air conditioners, the blockage causes the appliance to hold onto cold air that would normally be expelled into the environment, providing the perfect atmosphere for interior freezing.

Thus, it's important to inspect the appliance on a regular basis and clear away any debris (e.g. leaves, mounds of snow) that has fallen on it. Be sure to also trim back bushes, grass, and other flora that may also obstruct the flow of air to the heat pump. Every once in a while, open the machine and clean the interior parts to get rid of built-up dirt that can also cause blockages.

Make Sure There's Plenty of Refrigerant

Another reason heat pumps freeze up is because they're low on refrigerant. As noted previously, heat pumps work by taking air from outside, extracting the heat using a refrigerant, and then expelling that heat inside the home. If refrigerant levels are low, this can cause the machine to overworking and overproducing cold air and freezing up as a result.

The refrigerant system is a closed loop, which means the heat pump simply reuses the same liquid over and over again. Thus, if the refrigerant level in your machine is low, this means you have a leak. You'll need to have a professional look at your system to confirm whether the refrigerant needs to be topped up. If it does, you should also have the technician look for and repair any leaks that caused the loss.

Check the Drainage

Heat pumps produce a lot of water during the process of extracting heat from air. If this water doesn't drain properly, it can back up into the machine and cause the interior parts to freeze. However, algae and mold can grow in the system and block the water from draining properly. Check the drains on a regular basis and clean them out as necessary to prevent this problem from developing.

For help with your heat pump, contact a local HVAC technician, like one from A-1Finchum Heating.