Homeowner Articles Heat Pump Freezing Up

Heat pumps are meant to be your protection against the cold months of winter, so when if and when one ends up freezing up on you, you’re likely going to be quite frustrated.

Fortunately, your heat pump problems don’t have to stay. With the right approach and some good advice, your heat pump can quickly be restored back to normal functioning.

In this article, we’ll explore what can lead to your heat pump freezing up and provide some tips for preventing future issues.

We’ll also discuss potential solutions that you can use if your heating system itself has already frozen over so that you can get your home comfortable again as soon as possible.

So read on to learn more about why your heat pump might be freezing up and how best to fix the issue!

How A Heat Pump Works

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A heat pump is a system that uses electricity to move heat from one place to another.

In the winter, it moves warm air from outside into your home and cool air from inside your home back out.

This process is made possible by a compressor, evaporator coil, condenser coil, and fan.

The compressor pumps refrigerant liquid between the coils, which helps absorb and release heat energy as it moves through them.

The fan then blows air over these coils so that warm air can enter and cold air can be released back outside.

Under regular conditions, a heat pump freeze should be avoided by the heat pump’s defrost cycle, which monitors for and removes ice buildup.

However, there are a few issues that prevent this from working correctly…

Why Your Heat Pump Freezes

πŸ”₯ Refrigerant Leaks

refrigerant gauges

Refrigerant leaks are one of the main causes of a heat pump freezing up.

Refrigerant is a substance used to help absorb and release heat energy. If there is not enough refrigerant in the system, it will not be able to absorb enough heat from outside and transfer it into your home.

As a result, ice will begin to build up on the coils, leading to less air being able to flow through and eventually freezing up your system.

This can be caused by a leak in the pipes or connections that carry the refrigerant, or it could also be due to an issue with the compressor.

πŸ”₯ Dirty Air Filters

changing dirty air filters

Air filters play an important role in keeping your heat pump running efficiently and preventing it from freezing up.

Air filters are designed to trap contaminants such as dust, pollen, mold spores, and other particles out of the air that flows through the system.

Over time, dirt and debris build up on the air filter, reducing airflow and making it harder for the heat pump to move heat energy around.

If you end up with a clogged air filter, it can lead to completely blocked or poor airflow and cause the heat pump to freeze up.

πŸ”₯ Dirty Evaporator Coils

frozen evaporator coil

Evaporator coils are an essential part of a heat pump system, as they help absorb and release heat energy.

If the evaporator coils become too dirty or blocked with dust, dirt, debris, or other particles, this can reduce airflow through the system and prevent it from efficiently absorbing enough heat energy.

As a result, ice will begin to build up on the evaporator coils. This can cause the entire system to freeze up, leading to inadequate heating in your home.

πŸ”₯ Broken Fan Blades

AC fan blades

Fan blades are an important part of a heat pump system, as they help to circulate the air over the compressor and evaporator coils.

If the fan blades become broken or damaged, this can reduce air circulation and prevent the system from efficiently transferring heat energy into your home.

As a result, ice will begin to form on the evaporator coils due to insufficient cooling, leading to a frozen heat pump.

In addition, if there is no airflow over the condenser coil, it will not be able to release the stored energy back outside, causing even further freezing of the actual system components!

❄️ How To Tell If You Have A Frozen Heat Pump

If your heat pump unit has frozen, you might find that there is:

  • no air coming through the vents
  • ice buildup around the outside unit, and
  • water dripping from the unit.

If you notice any of these signs, alongside reduced or non-existent heating from your system, then it’s strongly likely you’ve got a heat pump freeze on your hands.

What Can Be Done About Frozen Heat Pumps

frozen heat pumps

What You Can Do

If your heat pump has frozen up, there are some things you can do to fix it.

Make sure there is enough refrigerant in the system so it can absorb warmth from outside and transfer heat into your home. You should also inspect your refrigerant line to see if there are any leaks.

It’s a good idea to clean or replace dirty air filters. This will allow them to filter contaminants out of the air, which will prevent airflow blockages.

You should clean any evaporator coils you have, too, as this will help ensure that your heat pump remains free of ice buildup and continues to work efficiently.

Finally, check if any fan blades are broken or damaged and make sure they are functioning correctly. However, you should be careful not to touch them if you suspect that may be damaged, as they could very easily hurt you.

What You’ll Need A Professional To Do

A homeowner may need to call a professional for help when their heat pump has frozen beyond the point of simple maintenance and DIY fixes.

For instance, if there is a leak in the pipes or connections carrying the refrigerant, this requires a great deal of technical expertise to fix, so an HVAC professional will need to be called in to help.

Furthermore, if any of the fan blades are broken or damaged, then a professional should also be contacted to repair them.

A professional can also help with other more complex mechanical problems, such as checking for blockages in the evaporator coils or repairing any faulty components in the heat pump.

Finally, if ice has built up on any of the system components – such as the compressor, condenser coils, or evaporator coils – then once again, a professional will need to be called upon to remove it.

How To Prevent Freezing In The Future

HVAC tech checking refrigerant levels

Regular maintenance by a professional HVAC company is essential in preventing heat pumps from freezing in the future.

By routinely inspecting, cleaning, and replacing components of the system, you can maintain the performance of your heat pump and prevent it from freezing up.

This includes checking refrigerant levels to make sure there is enough for the system to absorb heat energy, as well as ensuring fan blades are functioning properly so that air can circulate over the compressor and evaporator coils efficiently.

In addition, inspecting and cleaning evaporator coils helps keep them free of dirt and debris, which can save you money on service bills by preventing problems before they happen.

HVAC Solutions With Upstate Home Maintenance Services

cold homeowner

A frozen heat pump is an issue that can be challenging for the average homeowner to fix.

To prevent this from happening in the future and ensure the optimal functioning of your system, it’s important to have regular maintenance done by a professional HVAC company.

If you’re looking to get your heat pump defrosted or serviced and live in Spartanburg, South Carolina, look no further than Upstate Home Maintenance Services!

We are able to inspect, clean, and fix every part of your heat pump, from the reversing valve to the blower motor. Get in touch with a professional HVAC technician today, and rediscover a warm home!

This article was written by Morgan Loch

Owner of Upstate Home Maintenance Services LLC and Local HVAC Guru

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