Basic Facts About Your Heat Pump’s Defrost Cycle

Feb 9, 2022 | HVAC

When your heat pump is in use, it will occasionally need to undergo a defrost cycle so that the system can maintain optimal efficiency. However, there are certain misconceptions about the defrost cycle that can cause homeowners to think there’s something wrong with their heat pump.

Heat Pump’s Defrost Cycle

In today’s post, A/C and Refrigeration — a trusted provider of heating and air conditioning services — shares some basic information about the heat pump defrost cycle.

How Does the Heat Pump Defrost Cycle Work?

When your heat pump is in heating mode, it operates by pulling heat from the outdoor air and transferring it into your home to warm your indoor spaces. However, if the temperature outside is extremely cold, it can cause the moisture in the air to freeze on your outdoor unit’s heat exchanger. Frost can form on the outdoor coil and affect the the efficiency of your heat pump. To keep itself functional and efficient, your heat pump will need to remove this layer of frost through a defrost cycle.

Once the defrost cycle kicks in, your heat pump will operate in reverse — sending hot refrigerant outside so that the outdoor coil will thaw. The time needed to defrost the outdoor coil varies, but heat pumps typically remain in defrost mode until the coil reaches about 58 degrees. Once your unit has completely removed the frost, your heat pump will return to heating mode.

When Is Defrost Mode Activated?

There’s no need to call a heating repair expert when your heat pump goes into a defrost cycle. Typically, the defrost cycle is switched on when the temperature of the outdoor coil falls below 32 degrees.

However, if you notice your heat pump is defrosting too frequently or not producing enough heat, it’s worth having your unit checked by a professional. In some cases, changing the air filters or cleaning the outdoor unit can solve the issue. But if these maintenance tips don’t work, experts can help identify and fix the issue.

A/C and Refrigeration provides a range of heating and air conditioning services. We perform installations, repairs and maintenance. Furthermore, with our technicians’ experience and professional training, we can cover all your HVAC needs and guarantee excellent workmanship. Call (602) 488-7161 or fill out our contact form to schedule a free consultation.