If you have recently had a heat pump installed to produce the heat for your house, then you may be thrilled about the energy efficiency and consistent warmth produced by the device. While the vast majority of heat pump systems run well without much maintenance, you may notice some issues that do require some troubleshooting. This is the case when you notice a large buildup of ice on the outdoor compressor part of the unit. If you want to know why ice forms and also how you can remove it, keep reading.
Why Does Ice Form On The Compressor?
When the heat pump is in heating mode, the refrigerant that runs through the outdoor compressor unit remains quite cold. The cold coolant will absorb heat. The coolant then runs through a coil inside your house. The heat is released and the fluid cools down. The refrigerant then moves through the outside unit once again. Since the ambient temperatures outside are cool when the heat pump is running, the coolant can make the compressor unit even colder. When this happens, ice develops as condensation forms on the outside of the unit.
Ice formation is normal, and the heat pump will routinely go through a normal cooling cycle to reduce the ice formation. When this happens, the refrigerant releases heat outdoors instead of inside the home. This heat melts the accumulated ice.
Basically, heat pumps defrost when they do this, much in the same way that your refrigerator will when too much ice builds up in your freezer.
How Can Ice Be Removed By You?
In some cases, ice forms a bit too thick. You may think that you need to remove the ice yourself due to falling temperatures. However, this should not be the case. If too much ice is forming, then there is typically an issue with the heat pump itself. In other words, the unit is not defrosting like it should.
If a malfunction is suspected, then use an ice scraper to release as much of the ice as you can and contact a plumbing or heating professional. You may need to release ice every morning until someone can identify the issue.
A plumber will investigate possible sensor issues as well as problems with poor relays or controls that are not set properly. Also, some low refrigerant issues and fan malfunctions can lead to ice building up on the outdoor part of the heat pump.
In some cases, you may have some sort of leak that is causing water to fall on the unit. This will be investigated as well to make sure that accumulated ice is no longer an issue. For more information, contact a company like All American Plumbing & Heating.
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