Iced-Up Heater: Common Winter HVAC Issues Part 1
Holiday music is already on the radio, Black Friday sales are being advertised excessively and cold fronts keep on coming. It’s more than clear that winter is just about here, and there are signs it may be just as frigid as last year. That being said, we thought it’d be helpful to address common HVAC problems that our customers have encountered in past winters. This is our first segment on the subject, and we will be addressing perhaps the most common problem found in HVAC systems in Southeast Pennsylvania during winter, an iced-up heat pump.
When located outside, heat pumps may experience a build up of frost or light ice on the coil during truly inclement weather. However, if you find your unit covered in ice, then there is a real cause for concern. If there is ice on the top of your unit and/or the insides of the coil for a prolonged period of time, there will be consequences. You need to address this issue as quickly as possible!
While our units are programmed with defrost cycles to de-ice themselves and continue heating, ice can block the coils, prohibiting proper heat transfer. Some of our coldest days and chilliest nights can cause this.
However, there are other reasons that could be causing this failure to de-frost. The following reasons are broken into two categories, bold when the issue requires professional help and regular font for fixes a homeowner can easily do (this also includes the most helpful solutions).
- Bad outdoor fan motor
- Bad defrost relay
- Bad defrost control or timer
- Bad defrost thermostat or sensor
- Low refrigerant charge
- Bad coil (specifically the reversing valve solenoid coil)
- Outdoor coil blocked (most likely by leaves or snow)
- Be sure to continuously clear away snow and leaves from around and beneath your unit.
- Leaking gutter dripping water onto unit
- Repair the gutter yourself or hire a professional if the situation is too hazardous.
- Freezing rain affecting the top of the unit, which in turn causes the whole unit to freeze up
- Turn off the unit and remove the ice (warning: never use sharp objects to remove ice, it can damage the coils and fins). Water from a garden hose can help remove ice, though if it ices up again, call a professional ASAP!
- Sunken unit – because it’s in the ground, there’s now nowhere for the melted ice to drain
- Elevate the unit with blocks or special feet. Though you can do this yourself, it’s safer and smarter to call upon an HVAC professional.
Having a properly functioning heating system is the most important factor in achieving maximum comfort during our cold, harsh North East winters. Not only is proper functionality important for the comfort of you and your family, but it’s also vital to maintaining a reasonable heating bill.
If you notice any issues related to an iced-up heating pump, or any problems with your heating system, give Kinkaid a call! We’re here to help you achieve maximum comfort year round, especially throughout these coming cold months.
Willow Grove 215-657-1262
General Toll Free 1-866-HEAT-106