Swimming Pool Heat Pump Icing up
One of the most important things for any pool owner is to properly winterize the pool equipment at the end of the swimming season. This is to help prevent water from staying inside the device and freezing, because when that happens, the ice can expand and crack the device, requiring replacement. Replacing pool equipment that has been damaged during the cold can get very expensive.
Will the pool heater freeze? The answer is yes. Like other equipment, zones on pool heaters can crack during freezing temperatures.
Heat pumps most commonly freeze for the following reasons:
1. Insufficient airflow
2. Freezing rain causes icing
3. Drainage clogged
4. Lack of maintenance
Let's look at these in more detail.
What causes a heat pump to freeze?
A thin layer of frost on your heat pump coil is normal, but a thick layer of ice is a sign of operational problems that will prevent your system from heating and cooling properly and can cause your heat pump to freeze. Heat pumps have automatic controls that should put the unit into defrost mode to prevent ice formation during normal operation. An HVAC technician can check to make sure these controls are functioning properly.
One of the main reasons why heat pumps freeze up is lack of airflow. Without adequate airflow, ice can build up on the coils, causing the heat pump to freeze.
Restricted airflow can be caused by:
1. The filter is clogged
2. Blocked pipes
3. The outdoor unit is blocked by leaves, grass or snow.
4. Supply and return pipes are not obstructed by furniture, carpets or closed doors.
5. Conditions unrelated to the mechanical integrity of the system can also cause the heat pump to freeze. Freezing rain or leaking gutters can cause ice to build up on the outdoor unit and block airflow.
Other possible causes of heat pump freezing
There are other factors that can hinder the proper operation of the heat pump. These include:
1. Insufficient refrigerant charge
2. Malfunction of valve operation
3. Worn motor or fan
4. Other electrical or mechanical issues that your technician should be able to identify and fix
How to stop a heat pump from freezing
To prevent your heat pump from freezing, you need to make sure the airflow is not restricted and the unit is not blocked. Some tips to prevent this problem include:
1. Regularly clean or replace the air filter
2. Keep your outdoor unit free of debris
3. Check whether the water condensed in the outdoor unit can be drained from the unit
4. Make sure that the concrete slab under the unit does not sink or shift causing water to accumulate inside the condensing unit
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