You rely on your heat pump to keep your home comfortable all year long. But what do you do when a heat pump stops working correctly? One common problem could be that the heat pump is not defrosting properly. Believe it or not, this is both a Summer and Winter heat pump problem. Whether the heat pump is in air conditioning mode or heat mode, something can go wrong and prevent a defrost cycle, leaving your home and heat pump system to the whims of mother nature.

The heat pump experts at Sanborn’s Air Conditioning & Heating explain why this happens, give some heat pump troubleshooting tips, and tell you when it may be time to call our technicians in to fix your heat pump defrosting problem.

How Does a Heat Pump Work?

Before we can diagnose why your heat pump is not defrosting, we should give a very rudimentary explanation of how heat pumps work. Heat pumps are energy-efficient and can provide your home with both cold air in the Summer and warm air in the Winter.

Heat pumps do not create heat, they redistribute it from the ground or the outside air. In the Summer, a heat pump in cooling mode will absorb heat from inside your home. The warm air is passed over the evaporator coil which contains refrigerant. The refrigerant pulls the heat out of the air and transfers it outside. The air handler then blows cold air back into the home.

In the winter, a heat pump in heating mode will undergo a similar process, absorb the heat from the ground or outside air and transfer it indoors. In both cases, the evaporator coils are crucial to the process, and if they are prohibited from going into defrost mode, the heat pump will not be able to function properly.

Poor Airflow

A lack of airflow can play a role in prohibiting a heat pump defrost cycle. Bad airflow negatively impacts a heat pump’s defrost cycle and reduces the amount of warm air blowing over the heat pump’s coils. If the coils of a heat pump do not receive warm air they freeze up.

You can do several things to improve the airflow, facilitate an effective heat pump defrost cycle, and thaw out the ice buildup to get your heat pump working correctly again. Check the filters to ensure they are clean and change them if necessary. Clean the debris from around the outdoor unit of the heat pump and ensure all home vents are open. 

A blower motor malfunction can also contribute to a heat pump not defrosting due to poor airflow. A trained technician should handle heat pump blower issues as components may need to be repaired or replaced.

Faulty Reversing Valve

Another common problem preventing a heat pump defrost cycle is a faulty reversing valve. The reversing valve changes the direction of the refrigerant flow to send the heat pump into defrost mode. If the valve is stuck or damaged, the heat pump will not go into defrost mode, and your heat pump will have ice buildup and stop working.

Reversing valve issues should be tended to by a professional. The reversing valve may require repair or replacement. Electrical problems can also stop the reversing valve from receiving the signal to defrost. This issue also needs professional maintenance

Low Refrigerant Levels

One reason your heat pump may not be defrosting properly or is unable to produce cold air is a refrigerant leak. If refrigerant levels are low, it will inhibit the heat pump’s ability to go into defrost mode. Refrigerant is a chemical that helps cool the coils within the heat pump unit. When it’s warm, it helps to thaw the ice that has built up on the coils. If there is a refrigerant leak, a professional should be called in to check the levels, make any necessary repairs, and recharge the system with coolant for the heat pump to function correctly over time.

Dirty Coils

Grime on indoor coils can prevent them from thawing and prohibit an effective heat pump defrost cycle. If you find ice on the coil, especially during cold weather, it may be necessary to turn off the heat pump and clean the coils. Coil cleaning can be done by a professional, or you can try to do it yourself. Be very careful when cleaning the coils, as they are very fragile and can damaged easily.

Why Work With Sanborn’s Air Conditioning & Heating

When it comes to finding an HVAC company in the Inland Empire with the capabilities to remedy your heat pump defrost cycle issues, Google or Facebook would tell you there are dozens of companies that can serve you. However, not all HVAC companies are created equal, and you should never have to settle for second best.

Our team of heat pump experts at Sanborn’s is exceptionally qualified and highly trained to perform their jobs to the best of their ability. We make a point to leave every job we work with a satisfied customer and a job well done.

Call Us For Heat Pump Service

If you have a heat pump not defrosting, the advice above may help you fix the problem fast. If none of these things seem to be the problem, you may need to call a technician with extensive heat pump experience to come and set up the heat pump. For heat pump repairs, call Sanborn’s Air Conditioning & Heating today!