frozen heat pump

What to Do With a Frozen Heat Pump?

Heat pumps are simple yet incredibly versatile HVAC systems for both heating and cooling.

When the weather outside becomes incredibly cold during the winter, you might find that your heating has stopped, with your heat pump icing up. When this happens, many people question what they should do with their frozen heat pump and how they can fix it. 

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to deal with it at home, but if it doesn’t solve the issue, get in touch with our team at Smart Air to help!

Why do heat pumps freeze?

In order to provide heating, the refrigerant liquid in the tubing of heat pumps comes into contact with the outdoor unit’s coils. However, during cold winter days when the temperature drops to 32 degrees Fahrenheit or below, the refrigerant can cause condensation, which freezes and ends with your heat pump freezing up in winter.

Other common causes of your heat pump freezing up

Though a cold winter night can definitely cause your heat pump to freeze over, there are also a few other reasons that it can happen as well, including some of the following:

  • Your unit’s airflow is restricted. Plant matter like leaves, dirt, and sometimes even snow can gather and block your heat pump, causing it to freeze up. This clog can happen anywhere, so it’s important to check it carefully on a regular basis.
  • Water has dripped onto the unit. If your building has leaking gutters or directs water away from the roof poorly, anything that drips onto the heat pump can quickly freeze.
  • Lack of proper upkeep and maintenance. If you don’t regularly service your heat pump, the system can fall into disrepair, eventually leading to freezing, among many other issues.

Many heat pumps have a defrost setting that kicks in if any ice is detected within the system. In some cases though, the setting can ineffectively thaw the system.

How to fix a frozen heat pump

One way to fix the issue is to use the heat pump’s fan. Start by turning the actual heat pump off before you switch on the system’s fan via your thermostat. If it’s very cold outside, make sure the fan is also set to exhaust. The blowing air can usually thaw the unit out.

Another way to fix a frozen heat pump is to check if the outdoor unit is clear of any debris. Clean away any snow or plant material before carefully removing any ice that might be on the casing or the unit’s coils.

Checking your air filter is also highly recommended.

Still experiencing issues? Get in touch with Smart Air!

If all else fails and you’re stuck with a frozen heat pump, contact Smart Air for help from a specialist. The cause could be far more severe and may require repairs that a trained professional can do.