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Old 12-23-2008, 07:19 AM   #1
HeavySmoker
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Default My heat pump is frozen. Any advice?

Any suggestions for how to thaw out or de-ice a heat pump and prevent it from icing up again?

My heat pump is so full of ice the fan-blades got caught up in it and wont spin. I managed to shut it down before any damage occurred.
I'd like to defrost it and turn it back on without it happening again. Anyone know about these things?

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Old 12-23-2008, 08:01 AM   #2
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Default Re: My heat pump is frozen. Any advice?

I really don't know much about de-icing, but heat pumps are not very efficient heat in real cold weather and really don't work below 23 degrees. I would suggest heating with your furnace until it warms up. As for thawing it out, and getting it running, I would contact a good HVAC contractor to thaw it and service it. They usually have an auto defrost to keep them from freezing up.
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Old 12-23-2008, 08:26 AM   #3
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Default Re: My heat pump is frozen. Any advice?

A high wattage light bulb, blanket and tarp.
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Old 12-23-2008, 08:44 AM   #4
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Default Re: My heat pump is frozen. Any advice?

I turn off the heat pump compressor unit and use the heat strips when it gets below about 35-40 degrees. On my system, it's as easy as going from AUTO to E-HEAT on the thermostat.

I believe most heat pump systems sold around here have the Auxiliary Heat strips in the air handler, But I don't know about your system, so you'll have to look into that....

Then just let the compressor unit thaw on it's own.
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Old 12-23-2008, 09:01 AM   #5
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Default Re: My heat pump is frozen. Any advice?

Thanks. The furnace works on EM heat and the pump isnt running.

I am surprised the thing iced up as badly as it did. Seems there would be some sort of heat strip or tape or something to keep that much ice from forming near the fan blades. Why did I pay so much money for a heating system that isnt reliable when it dips below freezing for a few days?
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Old 12-23-2008, 09:18 AM   #6
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Default Re: My heat pump is frozen. Any advice?

Remember that ice "sublimes" (evaporates). That's why your snow goes away a little bit each day whether or not the temperature goes above freezing.

In time, any ice in your pump will simply evaporate, whether or not you thaw it.
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Old 12-23-2008, 09:32 AM   #7
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Default Re: My heat pump is frozen. Any advice?

Quote:
Originally Posted by HeavySmoker View Post
Thanks. The furnace works on EM heat and the pump isnt running.

I am surprised the thing iced up as badly as it did. Seems there would be some sort of heat strip or tape or something to keep that much ice from forming near the fan blades. Why did I pay so much money for a heating system that isnt reliable when it dips below freezing for a few days?
You paid for a great system. Heat Pumps are ideal for Western Oregon where it rarely gets really cold. they are MUCH more efficient than an electric or gas furnace. Take a look at your bill this month after running your electric (or gas) furnace. I would have your Heat pump checked, but the best insurance against it freezing up is not using it when we get below freezing weather and moisture.

Bottom line is, most good HVAC guys design a system to be most efficient for the typical weather. If you over design a system for extreme weather, it is usually inefficient for everyday use. That is why you have the emergency or backup heat.
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Old 12-23-2008, 09:36 AM   #8
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Default Re: My heat pump is frozen. Any advice?

You probably have a deice circuit that is not working right on a heat pump they will cycle to A/C side to defrost the coils automatically. If you can get the fan to turn put it on A/C and it will defrost in a little while. You have to turn thermostat down for A/C to work but dont do it unless fan can turn.
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Old 12-23-2008, 10:04 AM   #9
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Default Re: My heat pump is frozen. Any advice?

A/C did the trick. Thanks. Only problem now is the fan is out of balance so I'm sure it wont be long before the bearings in the fan motor are toast if I continue to run it.
At least I cought it before parts started flying. Thanks for the replies.
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Old 12-23-2008, 10:10 AM   #10
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Default Re: My heat pump is frozen. Any advice?

Quote:
Originally Posted by hookup1 View Post
You probably have a deice circuit that is not working right on a heat pump they will cycle to A/C side to defrost the coils automatically. If you can get the fan to turn put it on A/C and it will defrost in a little while. You have to turn thermostat down for A/C to work but dont do it unless fan can turn.
It should deice automatically. I'd have that checked out by an HVAC contractor. They work way too hard when iced up and it'll burn out your compressor in no time.
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Old 12-23-2008, 10:22 AM   #11
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Default Re: My heat pump is frozen. Any advice?

Not sure if I've gotten lucky, but my heat pump has been performing like a champ through this whole ordeal. I have yet to turn on my Eheat strips. And we've been down close to zero degrees.

And look out for your electric bill when you run those heat strips...Yikes

I did place an old T-11 sheet over it to protect it from the dripping icicles above, and that has seemed to help keep it clear.
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Old 12-23-2008, 10:23 AM   #12
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Default Re: My heat pump is frozen. Any advice?

Quote:
Originally Posted by hookup1 View Post
You probably have a deice circuit that is not working right on a heat pump they will cycle to A/C side to defrost the coils automatically. If you can get the fan to turn put it on A/C and it will defrost in a little while. You have to turn thermostat down for A/C to work but dont do it unless fan can turn.

Bingo! It should have a defrost cycle. Doesn't sound like it's working. I'd call a repairman
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