Heat Pump: How to Defrost It During Winter

The cold winter season can be hard on your budget. A great way to ensure that your heating is as energy-efficient as possible is to use a heat pump. This type of system works to heat your home in the winter and cool your home in the summer. Because it simply transfers heat from outdoors to the inside, it's much more energy-efficient than other types of home heating systems.

Why Does My Heat Pump Freeze?

Your heat pump can freeze whenever the outdoor conditions get close to or below freezing. It's important to note that the relative humidity level outdoors can also have a large impact on when your heat pump freezes up. Higher humidity levels cause more moisture in the air that can freeze quicker.

When excess moisture freezes up on the condenser coils of your outdoor HVAC unit, your system should automatically kick on its defrost mode. This mode will reroute the heat that is being transferred from the outdoor to the inside of your home back to the outdoor condenser coils. Defrost mode will typically last for about 30 minutes, and you'll notice that your system will create steam during the process.

While your system is programmed to switch to defrost mode when it senses ice buildup on its condenser coils, sometimes it may not do so. The most common culprits of this are wiring problems, thermostat malfunctions, and dirty or debris-covered condenser coils.

Manually Defrosting Your Unit

If your outdoor condenser unit is frozen and it isn't turning over to defrost mode, you'll need to defrost your unit manually. Before you do so, you'll want to turn your entire HVAC system off at the circuit breaker for your safety. Use the garden hose to spray water onto the condenser coil until the ice completely melts.

While you may be tempted to start chipping away at the ice, avoid doing so. Those actions could result in severe damage to your system. If you don't want to stand there with the hose for a while, you can turn your heat pump back on and run it in 'fan' mode until the ice completely melts off of your outdoor unit.

While cold weather can cause your condenser coils to freeze, that may not be the only culprit. While you're manually defrosting your outside unit, it's best to check for other sources of water that could be causing an overload. A common problem that many homeowners experience is an overhead gutter that leaks. The water will spill over the gutter and cause excess water to hit the surface of your outdoor unit. Fixing the gutter, in this scenario, can easily prevent future problems.

Contact Us Today

If you're still struggling to get your unit defrosted, then it's time to call in the experts at TDI Air Conditioning. Let our knowledgeable HVAC technicians take care of evaluating your heat pump and getting it repaired so that you can get back to enjoying the warmth in your home.