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  1. #1

    Question

    We have a 20 year old Trane heat pump. It is located at a house that we lived in 20 yrs, and have rented the last 12 yrs. When we lived there and freezing rain or sleet and wet snow would build-up on the outside unit either we or our tenants would un-freeze the fan. Either with slightly warm water or one tenant put it in the AC mode and said it thawed it . Here is where the problem comes in this year. The house is unoccupied and I am not sure it will be rented before the bad weather starts. We must keep the heat set between 55 and 60 to to prevent the pipes from freezing as there is no way to drain this house.
    What could happen to it if it freezes the fan outside and there is no one there to thaw it? Will it just groan and trip a breaker? Will it burn out the fan motor? What are the possibilities? We live 120 miles from the house and can't just run over and check it out. I was there from last Feb. to Sept. working and making repairs to the house and the heat pump, even at it age, was performing fine.Any information would be appreciated. Thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2000
    Location
    Eastern PA
    Posts
    68,923
    Sounds like a heat pump under an overhang. If so, have it moved. If not, you have somewhat of a delema.

    The auxilliary heaters will do the job of keeping the house from freezing but will cost you dearly to operate.

    Also, it is not good for the heat pump fan to be jammed up with ice and keep overheating.

    Is there any way to build something that will divert the freezing rain while not blocking the air flow?
    Government is a disease...
    ...masquerading as its own cure…
    Ecclesiastes 10:2 NIV


  3. #3
    Re: unattended heat pump and possible freezing of fan during icy/freezing weather. Do mean that the fan motor would overheat and cause damage to the unit or a fire?
    Also, are you saying that the auxillaries would come on if the fan on the outside unit froze?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2000
    Location
    Eastern PA
    Posts
    68,923
    If the fan is stopped, then the fan motor is also stopped. since it will want to continue to operate and cannot, it will shut down on by a safety device called thermal overload protection. There is little chance of fire, but never say never.

    The auxilliary heaters turn on whenever the thermostat drops more then 1º below the set point.
    Government is a disease...
    ...masquerading as its own cure…
    Ecclesiastes 10:2 NIV


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    in a house, Appomattox, Va.
    Posts
    3,249
    Saw one like that. Gutter was damaged, water into fan , ice smash coil, freon out, water in, new system required.

    Sounds like an overhang issue, or wind current around house piles crap around unit.
    Col 3:23


    questions asked, answers received, ignorance abated

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2000
    Location
    Eastern PA
    Posts
    68,923
    I've seen several different kinds of ice monsters on heat pumps.

    Had one where the overhanging gutter iced over and a huge ice stalagmite had formed from the top of the heat pump to the overhang. That one had a block of ice about 2/3 the way filling the interior of the heat pump with a clear coil where the defrost system was actually doing its job.
    Government is a disease...
    ...masquerading as its own cure…
    Ecclesiastes 10:2 NIV


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