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thinkstock-177011880 resizedDuring the winter, when your heat pump is operating in heat mode, frost may begin to form on the outside unit. Frost occurs when the relative humidity level outside is around 70 percent or more and the temperature is between 20 and 40 degrees. While it’s normal to see a thin layer of frost on a heat pump from time to time, it’s still rare in the Sarasota area, and there’s definitely such thing as too much. Learn more about how to deal with a frosty heat pump so you can prevent damage and ensure your system runs as efficiently as possible.

Heat Pump Defrost

The defrost cycle is designed to protect the outside unit from becoming packed with ice, which can restrict airflow from passing through the fins. To keep the frost from becoming too thick, the flow of hot refrigerant changes directions and goes back through the outdoor coil rather than inside.

It’s not unusual for a small amount of frost to collect on your heat pump’s outdoor unit, but you should keep an eye on it to make sure the defrost cycle is functioning properly. Wait a couple of hours and then check it again. If the frost is still there, there’s likely a problem with the defrost cycle.

Before you call in the pros, there are a few things to check for that could be the cause:

  • Make sure there isn’t any snow, leaves or other debris around the outdoor unit. Make sure to look underneath to ensure it’s clear as well.
  • Repair dripping gutters that are directly above the unit.
  • After turning off the unit, remove ice that has collected on top using a garden hose.

If frost continues to build up on the heat pump, contact a qualified HVAC professional.

For more tips on how to deal with the frosty heat pump in your Sarasota home, contact the HVAC experts at Aqua Plumbing & Air.

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