Going into the house it was uncomfortably cool and the thermostat was set at 72F and the clients asked me what was wrong.
I suggested the heat pump wasn't working right or the filter might be exceptionally dirty.
So we looked out the back window.
The heat pump was looking like it was covered in ice.
It was having a problem with its
This time of year if there is a problem with a heat pump system, this might be how it manifests itself.
My CEU classes and reading tell me that this can occur at 40F and below, depending on humidity. It was near freezing outdoors that day, so conditions were proper.
A heat pump is essentially an air conditioner that can work backwards. During the heating cycle a heat pump extracts heat from outside and transfers it indoors.
At 40F and below moisture in outdoor air will freeze on the compressors' components. The unit is supposed to recognize this and go into a defrost cycle mode for 2-10 minutes to eliminate the ice.
If that mode does not work right, the ice will build up. With ice comes less air movement, affects the heating cycle and can damage the unit. Seeing the ice forming means that a professional service is needed. There are many things to evaluate.
What's wrong? A bad defrost timer, a bad thermostat or relay, a stuck reversing valve or solenoid (electromagnetic) coil, the outdoor fan motor, or a bad charge are some of the reasons. A clogged gutter draining onto the unit or the unit being too close to the ground can affect this as well, so those things might also need attention! And this according to CEU information!
See, I am not an HVAC professional! But I am a professional home inspector and I try to learn stuff!
I checked to see if the filter was dirty and there was no filter present! So, um, well, like, yeah, that wasn't the problem! Maybe no filtration made the system so dirty it contributed though!
In short, this unit needs immediate attention!
My recommendation: as I said, home inspectors try to learn stuff! Actually they have to learn a lot of stuff in a lot of different areas of construction and other knowledge! Of course the learning is never ending and no home inspector can keep up with it all. But still, the effort is on to learn stuff! So call a home inspector when you buy a house! Call a real bull dog home inspector. They bite best.
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC
Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.
Office (703) 330-6388 Cell (703) 585-7560