Are External Heating Units Affected by Snow?

There is something about cold weather that has us retreating inside and cranking up the heat. While our homes may be nice and toasty, our external heating units may be in desperate need of TLC. An outdoor heat pump requires a little extra care during the snow. It may seem like a big job but fear not, with these easy steps you can have a toasty winter and a happy heat pump.

Heat pumps work by drawing in air from around the unit and heating it up. For the unit to properly do its job it needs to be ice and snow free. Checking the unit regularly for heat and snow and ice buildup will help the machine run efficiently.

Be sure the gap between the unit and the base is clear of snow and ice as well because melting and improper drainage will cause problems later on.

The heat pump generally works by channeling the heat up through the hose. Keeping that area free of snow and ice will also be beneficial for it to run the best way possible.

Do not use a chisel or sharp tools to remove snow or ice buildup. This could potentially damage the heat pump. Use a broom or brush to sweep away ice and snow.

Some units will go into defrost mode on their own. This mode will clear some of the excess snow and ice. If your unit does not go into defrost mode on its own, you can switch the thermostat to “Emergency Heat” mode. This will help significantly. This mode is more expensive and is not recommended to be turned on for more than one or two days.

If your unit is not defrosting, there are several potential reasons. Some may need to be taken care of by a technician others can be fixed by the owner:

Do it yourself:

If the outdoor coil is blocked (by snow, dirt, debris, leaves, etc), the unit is sunk in the ground (making it hard for melted snow and ice to drain), a leaking gutter above the unit, or if there is freezing rain causing the entire unit to freeze over, the owner (or you) can remedy any of these issues and soon you’ll be back to toasty warm toes.

Seek a professional:

If none of these things turn out to be the problem then it could be a technician problem. Some of these may be a bad defrost control or timer, a bad defrost sensor/thermostat, a bad defrost relay, a sticking reverse valve or bad reverse valve/solenoid coil, bad fan motor, low refrigerant charge, or restriction. Call us Go Green Heating and Air Conditioning right away to take a look before more damage or problems occur.

Regularly checking the unit throughout the winter will reduce problems later on and keep you and your toes warm all season long. If you have any concerns or are unsure of what to do, feel free to contact us anytime and we will be happy to help.