Cold air return vents

April 22, 2017
Cold-air return vent near
Frost on the outside coil is condensation that forms up on the coil in the form of frost. When a heat pump begins the defrost cycle, the outdoor fan shuts off and the system switches over to cooling mode. The reason for this, is that in the cooling mode, the outdoor coil actually becomes hot. This is because hot refrigerant circulates through the outdoor coil, which in turn melts the frost. The reason the fan shuts off during this process is so the system doesn't pull the cold air from the outside across the coil while the hot refrigerant circulates.

While the system is in cooling mode, the frost that had built up on your outdoor coil then turns to water, runs down the outdoor coil, and piles towards the bottom. When the defrost cycle is complete and the defrost sensor closes, the system runs in heating mode again. This is when the fan kicks back on and all of the frost that ran down to the bottom of the coil in the form of water is pushed out of the top of the unit, sometimes in the form of steam. If you see steam coming out of your outdoor coil that is a normal operating procedure for a heat pump system, so don't be alarmed.

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