Following these maintenance tips can ensure your heating system is working efficiently and effectively and avoid potentially costly repairs and replacements.
1) One of the first things you should do is locate your filter so you can inspect it. Many systems require you to remove an access panel either with a screwdriver or by turning the hand release latches. Inspect the filter and seeing mild to light accumulations of dust are normal, while a visibly heavier buildup of dust blocks airflow and could cause excessive defrost cycles in the heat pump. In that case, replace the filter.
2) Follow your local weather. High humidity and precipitation can cause the heat pump to perform seemingly excessive defrost cycles. Frequent defrost cycles under these weather conditions are normal, particularly in heat pumps that have a demand defrost mechanism installed. Demand defrost mechanisms work only when frost on the outdoor coils or indoor coils reaches a certain level. Other defrost mechanisms work on a 30, 60 or 90-minute timed cycle, which performs a defrost cycle whether or not ice has formed on the coils.
3) Turn off all power to the central heating unit if the entire unit is covered in ice. Use a water hose to melt the ice. Allow the unit to dry overnight before turning power back on. This ice buildup is usually not related to the defrost cycle, but is caused by a low refrigerant charge in the unit. A qualified heating and air repairman will have to recharge the unit.
4) If the heat pump lacks heat, the cause of the problem can be that the pump is not getting power. Ensure that the circuit breakers have not been tripped. Most forced heating systems use two circuit breakers to safeguard the electric circuits that power the air handler and heat pump condenser. Both of these circuits should be switched on for the heat pump to supply heat from the furnace. If your circuit breaker trips again, after it has been reset, this tripping may indicate an electrical system short and you should contact a repair technician.