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How Ice Damages Your Heat Pump

Heat pumps are designed to withstand harsh winters, taking advantage of recent technology to overcome the troubles that earlier models had with especially cold temperatures. Many homes in Boston, MA have embraced the heat pump as a way to warm and cool your home in a single unit. Unfortunately, ice build-up can be a big problem this time of year, and usually indicates a problem within the heat pump that needs to be addressed before it will function effectively.  Here’s a quick discussion of how ice damages your heat pump, and the possible reasons why.

The Damage

When ice forms on the evaporator coil, it insulates the refrigerant from the air it needs to cool in order for the heat pump to do its job. As a result, the system will work harder than it should to do its job – whether heating or cooling — which raises both your monthly bills and the chances of a larger breakdown. Ice can also seal up vents and other important components, as well as freezing movie parts (or at least increasing the friction to intolerable amounts). All of that can spell disaster if you don’t treat the problem promptly.

The Causes

In some cases, ice can form simply because of cold weather: snowfall and the like can lead to the exterior unit developing ice. Pay particular attention during thaws, when melting snow from your roof or drain spout can coat the heat pump, then freeze again when temperatures drop in the night. If the problem is inside the system, it’s usually something a technician can hunt down and resolve quickly: a broken defroster, for example, or a leak in the refrigerant line. Either way, you can clear the ice off of the outside of the unit, but never attempt to remove it from the internal workings. Call in a professional instead.

Trust Cooling Unlimited to solve your heat pump issues.

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