During the winter months, outdoor heat pumps often become affected by snow and ice. Although a light frosting won't cause problems with the efficiency of your heat pump, extended periods of severe weather can leave the whole unit iced-up and susceptible to damage.
If your frozen heat pump is left unfixed it can end up being severely damaged. If this happens, your heating won't work properly, leaving you shivering and with no option but to call out your plumber and heating engineer to fix it for you.
When your pump fails and you suspect icing-up is to blame, you can act quickly to unfreeze it by following these instructions.
Turn on the heat pump's fan
The first and most straightforward solution to a frozen heat pump is to run the fan.
Usually, blowing warm air through the pump will solve the problem. Set the fan on an exhaust setting and run it for an hour. If the weather is extremely cold and likely to be so for a few days, it's a good idea to run the fan continually during this time to prevent the pump from freezing.
Adjust the thermostat sensor
In extremely frosty conditions, the heat pump must work for longer to get rid of ice.
An effective strategy during this kind of weather event can be to move the thermostat on the outer part of the unit to increase the temperature at which the pump kicks in. Mark the original position on the sensor so that you can replace it correctly when the danger has passed.
Relocate the heat pump
If you continually experience problems with your heat pump freezing during the winter months, it may be a good idea to ask your plumber to relocate it to a more sheltered spot where the frost and ice can't get at it. This could even stop icing-up from occurring altogether.
Defrost the heat pump manually
Some heat pump units feature a defrost option. If your heat pump has a defrost facility, try running it whenever the outside conditions are likely to cause the unit to freeze.
Note that sometimes the power-save mode can reduce the defrost cycle so that it doesn't run for long enough to prevent icing-up. You can solve this problem by asking your plumber to reset the unit to its original factory settings.
If your outdoor heat pump has a tendency to freeze-up during very cold weather, you can sometimes solve the problem by defrosting it manually as per the instructions given above. If this strategy fails to resolve the issue, give your local plumber a call.