It's not out of the ordinary for a small amount of frost to form on a heat pump. However, that light dusting of frost can easily turn into a thick sheet of ice under the right circumstances, preventing your heat pump from functioning properly. Fortunately, there are a few ways you can prevent ice buildup from stopping your heat pump dead in its tracks.
Change Your Air Filter Regularly
Your heat pump air filter traps all sorts of dust, debris and other airborne particles. As time goes on, however, all of the debris it has captured can make it difficult for return air to freely pass through the filter. Once the dirty filter completely blocks this flow of air, the coils won't be able to transfer latent heat properly. This could eventually cause the coils to freeze over.
You can easily avoid this problem simply by changing the air filter at least every three months. Others recommend changing the air filter on a monthly basis not only to ensure maximum performance, but also to improve your home's indoor air quality.
Keep the Coils Clean
Dust, dirt and debris can settle on the indoor and outdoor coils on your heat pump system. A thick enough layer of dirt and debris can prevent air from flowing through the coils, thus preventing the heat pump from transferring latent heat properly. As with a dirty air filter, dirty coils can cause freeze-ups and other malfunctions.
Having your outdoor and indoor coils cleaned on an annual basis can help prevent these blockages from occurring. To clean the outdoor coils on your heat pump, all you have to do is hose down the outdoor unit while the unit's turned off. You can clean your indoor coil simply by spraying a foaming no-rinse cleaner directly on the coil.
Have Your HVAC Contractor Check the Refrigerant Charge
Not having enough refrigerant in your heat pump can do more than leave you sweaty on a hot summer day. It can also cause refrigerant temperatures to drop within the refrigerant line, leading to a frozen coil. A low refrigerant charge can also prevent the heat pump compressor from properly circulating refrigerant, leading to eventual compressor damage.
It's usually a good idea to have your HVAC contractor check the refrigerant charge, since he or she will have the proper tools and training to safely and effectively check and charge your heat pump. Your HVAC contractor may also be able to pinpoint leaks and other related issues causing refrigerant loss. Click here for more information.