Why Is there Frost on My Heat Pump?

Heat pumps are becoming an increasingly popular option for homes here in La Habra, CA: combining the functions of a heater and an air conditioner into a single system. Heat pumps work the same way an air conditioner does, but with an added option of reserving the flow of refrigerant through the system to warm your home instead of cool it. You might be surprised to notice ice forming on the system this time of year, when its job is heating the air rather than cooling it and temperatures rarely drop below freezing. In point of fact, ice on your heat pump represents a more serious problem, that you need to treat quickly.

The Cause

Ice is usually caused by leaking refrigerant, which needs to be in a set amount in order for the system to work properly. When the balance is thrown off, it doesn’t cool the air as efficiently as it could. When the heat pump is in heating mode, the effect can be cascading. The Ice forms an insulating barrier between the refrigerant and the air, limiting its efficiency and reverberating throughout the entire process. The heat pump must therefore work harder to do its job and the increased strain will likely result in more repairs as well as higher monthly bills.

The Solution

Some people believe that you can simply scrape off the ice and fix the problem. Unfortunately, the ice is only the symptom. If you scrape it off, it will only reform and your efforts might end up damaging the coil, turning a minor repair into a much bigger one. Instead, trust a qualified professional to hunt down the source of the leak and seal it before recharging refrigerant levels to their prescribed amounts.

For top-notch heat pump repair, trust JC Mechanical to do the job right!

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