Why Is My Heat Pump Icing?

a photo of a man scratching his head in confusion

The Sunshine State doesn’t exactly conjure up images of people bundled in sweaters sitting around a fireplace. But while Florida’s climate is warm most of the year, the state has experienced its share of cold fronts, (fun fact: Tallahassee hit a record low of -2 degrees in 1899!). We obviously aren’t going to be shoveling snow anytime soon, but it’s best to be prepared for when temperatures drop—starting with your HVAC system and what to do if you find ice on the heat pump.

So, There’s Ice on the Heat Pump—Why?

Since warm-blooded Floridians rarely touch the heat setting on the thermostat, it’s common for most people to neglect the heat pump until it’s needed for the few days each year when Florida temperatures drop. However, if your heat pump is frozen, you could find yourself in a bind. There are numerous things that could cause your heat pump to freeze, such as:

  • Improper airflow: When airflow is restricted, condensation can begin to collect. When this happens, the evaporator coils can collect dust and dirt which holds moisture. Moisture can equal frost build up. If you find that your heat pump is frozen, make sure that there is nothing impeding the flow of air such as tall grass or other debris.
  • The unit has settled: Units are typically placed atop concrete slabs that can tilt, sink, or shift over time. If this happens, water can collect and freeze in cold temperature causing the heat pump to freeze too. If this is the cause, try to level the unit so any water can drain.

What Can I Do About It?

There are a few things you can do if your heat pump has frozen. Many pumps will have some sort of defrosting system that uses an electric or self-timer or a clock motor. If your heat pump has a defroster, check the manual to determine the best setting for defrosting. A good way to ensure your heat pump won’t freeze is to do some preventive maintenance such as changing the filter regularly and removing any debris around the outside unit—and remember, if the heat pump is frozen, don’t pick at the ice! Use water to melt the ice away.

In some instances, a frozen heat pump may mean there is an underlying issue with your air conditioner, so it’s always best to contact the professionals at One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning® of Clearwater. Our team of experienced technicians wants to ensure you and your family are comfortable year round. If your heat pump is frozen, we will diagnosis and repair any issue! For more information about air conditioning systems and heat pumps, click here, or visit One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning® of Clearwater today.