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It’s hard to overstate the importance of staying warm and comfortable during the winter. For all of the efficiency and power that heat pumps bring, those who use them also face a special set of challenges when it gets colder. Here are five major wintertime heat pump problems you can avoid and some advice on handling them in Dover, DE.

1. Ice Buildup

During the winter, ice might form on your heat pump’s coils and refrigerant lines and prevent it from functioning as it should. The most common reason for this is that some refrigerant has leaked out just before a new heating cycle starts. Since refrigerant is very cold at this point in the cycle, it can easily freeze.

It’s also possible for ice to appear on various parts of your heat pump because some condensation or moisture has frozen in the winter cold. We’ll discuss in some more detail how this condensation or moisture might appear in the first place later on.

However the ice happens to appear, your system can usually get rid of it on its own by entering defrost mode. If the ice results from a refrigerant leak, refilling the refrigerant will help correct the problem. However, because refrigerant is dangerous, you should never replace it on your own; have a professional do this for you during system maintenance appointment.

2. Dirty Air Filters

To ensure that your heat pump functions at its best, you should always remember to replace the system’s air filters at least once every three months, regardless of the time of year. Dirty air filters can always hinder airflow and decrease system efficiency, but in the winter, they pose an additional hazard.

Airflow restrictions may cause warm air to get trapped inside your heat pump, which may cause condensation to form. Thanks to the frigid winter weather, that condensation may freeze. Since ice can end up potentially anywhere in your system this way, it can lead to additional malfunctions.

Replacing filters on a regular basis should prevent this from happening. If ice does form this way, defrost mode should eventually eliminate it. Otherwise, you’ll have to request professional help.

3. A Malfunctioning Thermostat

If your thermostat happens to go bad during the winter, it can wreak havoc on your heat pump. The system may end up stuck in cooling mode when you need it to be in heating mode, for example, or it may not turn on at all.

Often, batteries may just need replacement in your thermostat. A technician can also ensure it undergoes proper calibration before cold weather arrives.

4. Obstructed Coils

There’s always a risk that debris may eventually clog your heat pump’s coils and prevent the system from functioning properly. However, if this happens during the winter, there are some additional factors to consider.

During the winter, ice can appear both on and inside of your heat pump’s coils for reasons previously mentioned. This ice can freeze debris in place, making removing it more difficult.

5. Age of System

With proper maintenance, a heat pump should be able to function reliably for up to 15 years. As the system ages, however, performance and efficiency will inevitably decline, and breakdowns will become more frequent.

Though a heat pump can age beyond the point of viability at any time of year, a complete breakdown can certainly happen during the winter. To ensure you aren’t trapped this way, complete service appointments before winter and follow technician recommendations.

No one wants to be stuck in the middle of a cold winter with a heat pump that won’t work. The frosty weather poses additional risks to your HVAC system. To protect your household from these risks, and to help prevent further heat pump problems, call Griffith Energy Services today to schedule your heating repair service today in Dover, DE.

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