If your heat pump is covered in a light frost for 30 minutes to an hour, that’s normal. The heat pump has a defrost mode that should melt the ice. But if your heat pump is completely covered in ice for 2+ hours and air cannot pass through the fins, that’s not normal, meaning you need a professional to repair the heat pump. Please don’t ignore this problem. A large amount of ice can:

  • Damage the fan blades
  • Ruin the compressor (the heart of the heat pump)
  • Crush the outdoor coil, causing refrigerant to spill out

Common causes of a heat pump completely covered in ice This chilly problem is probably caused by one of these heat pump issues:

  • Improper refrigerant charge, meaning there’s probably a refrigerant leak somewhere.
  • Sticking reversing valve, meaning the heat pump can’t reverse the flow of refrigerant to defrost itself.
  • Bad outdoor fan unit. The condensing fan is suppose to shut off during the defrost process to allow high pressure refrigerant to circulate through the outdoor coil, melting the ice.
  • Defrost control issues. Things like a bad defrost timer, bad defrost relay or bad defrost thermostat or sensor prevents the heat pump from defrosting. So, ice keeps accumulating until your heat pump is a giant glacier.

“What should I do now?” First, call a professional for help. If you live in the Dallas, Powder Springs, Acworth, Douglasville, Rockmart or metro Atlanta area, then contact Ragsdale heating, air and plumbing for help. Second, if you don’t have any heat, or the air coming out of your vents is lukewarm, switch over to auxiliary heat. To do that, go to your thermostat and set it to “emergency heat.” This will turn on your secondary form of heating. That secondary source is either a furnace (If you have a dual fuel/hybrid heat system) or an electric resistance coil (like the ones in your toaster). While this coil is a big energy hog, it’ll keep you warm until help arrives. Hope this helps! Did you find this article helpful? Sign up for our newsletter to get more how-to articles and money-saving tips sent to your inbox. You’ll also receive a $25 gift card towards your first service. Ragsdale Heating, Air and Plumbing has been serving the metro Atlanta area for over 20 years. Contact us online for more information on how we can help you.

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