What Causes Heat Pumps to Ice Up?

Heat pumps in Texas take on a heavy burden. They get used extensively throughout the spring, summer, and early fall providing cooling for homes. When winter comes in and the occasional cold snap strikes, they switch over to heating… but they’ll still need to jump back to cooling on some days even during the winter. A heat pump in Bedias, TX will probably run a good chunk of the year in one mode or another.

When repair problems develop, you need to act on them before you lose both functions of your heat pump. An issue you might encounter with heat pumps is icing that develops across the indoor or outdoor coils. Even when using the air conditioning function, ice on a heat pump is a warning sign and means you need to call for professional repair. Ardon Maintenance has NATE-certified technicians to help you restore your home comfort when your heat pump starts to ice up.

The reason for ice on a heat pump

Despite the logic of it, heat pumps do not ice up because they’ve been blowing out too much cold air. (Heat pumps don’t create cold, they remove heat.) The icing can occur in heating mode as well. The reason that icing begins is usually a drop in the refrigerant charge inside the heat pump.

Refrigerant is the chemical that allows for the heat exchange that makes a heat pump work. This chemical blend runs through copper or aluminum tubes in a closed circuit, and under normal use does not dissipate. The refrigerant’s charge (its level) is balanced for ideal operation. Should leaks occur along the lines or in the compressors, whether from damage or corrosion, the loss of refrigerant will cause ice to develop along the evaporator coil—which is either the indoor coil or outdoor coil depending on what mode the heat pump is in.

This might sound strange. Losing refrigerant creates ice? What happens is that the drop in refrigerant makes it more difficult for the evaporator coil to absorb a sufficient amount of heat to stop it from icing over. As the ice grows, it blocks off the coil and drops its absorption power even further: a fully iced-over coil cannot execute heat exchange, and the heat pump will no longer be able to perform its job.

Excessive dirt along the coils can also cause the ice to occur, since this restricts the heat absorption ability as well. Have a technician investigate to find out the root of the problem. Refrigerant leaks will need sealing and the correct amount and type of refrigerant blend used to recharge the system.

Don’t ignore the ice!

The moment you see ice developing on either set of coils in your heat pump, call professionals for repairs. Ardon Maintenance is ready 24-hours a day to rescue your heat pump in Bedias, TX!

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