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Icy Conditions Can Do Damage To Heat Pumps

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Despite all the ice in the Triangle area, power outages have been relatively minimal. Still, some people are without heat. The freezing rain can do damage to your heat pump and the remedy could be just as chilly.

Jeff Anderson moved from Iowa to Raleigh to escape the cold. He could not escape it Monday when the heat pump at his sign shop froze.

"I just wanted to stay warm in here and I had to get someone in here as quick as possible to thaw it out," he said.

Reggie Ross has worked in the heating and air conditioning business for 15 years. He said freezing rain sticks to a heat pump's coils and the pump's defroster often cannot keep up.

"It's not defrosting it enough to get all the ice off, and when there is residual ice, it continues to freeze up more and more," he said.

More heat pumps will likely freeze in the next day or two, but the solution to thawing out the heat pump may surprise you. Even on a cold day, experts say all you have to do is turn your heat pump to air conditioner. Experts said as soon as the refrigerant changes flow, it takes a few minutes before the pump starts to defrost.

Experts said it is not just electric heaters that can have problems. The blower on a gas heater can stop from the ice and cold. Turning your switch from auto to fan can help restart your blower.


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