Simple Guide on How to Fix Heat Pump from Freezing Up


Even though heat pumps are very efficient heating and cooling systems, they are not immune to mechanical breakdowns. A typical problem for homes with heat pumps is the exterior unit freezing over in the winter. The heat pump’s ability to provide warm air would be diminished or eliminated if this happens. Fortunately, a frozen heat pump may be fixed with minimal effort on your part.

This piece will explain what to do if your heat pump freezes over and how to repair it. However, if you are looking for HVAC repairs or installations, Call Autumn is the best there is for HVAC Services in Surprise, AZ.

What Causes a Heat Pump to Freeze Up?

Knowing what causes a heat pump to freeze up is crucial before we can fix it. Therefore, let us first understand the reasons behind a frozen heat pump.

Low refrigerant

Low amounts of refrigerant prevent the heat pump from drawing enough heat from the air. The increased effort required by the unit causes the temperature to decrease, which in turn leads the unit to freeze up.

Insufficient airflow

A frozen heat pump might be the result of insufficient airflow over the exterior unit. A clogged air duct, a broken blower motor, or a filthy air filter might all be to blame.

Defrost cycle malfunctioning

The heat pump might freeze up if the defrost cycle isn’t functioning properly. A broken defrost thermostat or control board might be at fault.

How to defrost a heat pump?

Now that we know the causes, let us look at how to defrost a heat pump.

Initial Action: Disconnect the Heat Pump

When your heat pump freezes up, the first thing you should do is turn it off. Doing so will protect you and the unit from any additional harm. Don’t even think of trying to chisel away at the ice or use hot water to melt it. This is risky and might lead to further harm to the device.

Double-check the air filter

The air filter serves a crucial function in the heat pump by preventing foreign particles like dust and debris from entering the system. A dirty air filter may cause the heat pump to freeze up by limiting airflow. Make sure the air filter is clean or new. The filter should be changed every three months, as recommended.

Make sure that your ducts aren’t clogged

Poor airflow from blocked ducting is another possible reason for the heat pump freezing up. Verify the ducts for blockages, and clear them out if necessary. Ensure the vents are clear of obstructions like furniture or other objects.

Check the outdoor unit

The outdoor unit is where the heat pump absorbs heat from the air. A malfunctioning heat pump may be identified by the presence of ice on the exterior condenser. Make sure no snow or ice accumulation prevents air from entering the outside unit. Remove the ice carefully using a soft brush or broom. Avoid using anything sharp or hot, including water, on the device, as this can damage the unit.

Verify the levels of the refrigerant

The heat pump may freeze up if there is not enough refrigerant. Verify the level of the refrigerant and top it up if needed. It’s important to remember that refrigerant is toxic and should only be handled by a trained HVAC expert.

Defrost cycle testing

The defrost cycle is a crucial part of the heat pump, and if it fails to operate properly, the unit might freeze. The defrost thermostat and control board should be tested to make sure they are working properly. Get in touch with a qualified HVAC specialist for maintenance, repairs, or replacement if you discover any problems.

Get in touch with a qualified HVAC technician

If the heat pump is still freezing after you’ve tried the aforementioned solutions, it’s time to call in an HVAC expert. A professional service expert will be able to identify the issue and advise you on how to fix a heat pump that’s freezing up. Beyond these measures, it is risky and might further harm the device to attempt to repair a frozen heat pump. So, it’s better to get in touch with an expert.

How to avoid the freezing of the heat pump?

It’s considerably simpler to prevent a heat pump from freezing up than to defrost it. If your heat pump often freezes up, try these solutions:

Regular maintenance

Having a professional service your heat pump on a regular basis might help keep it from freezing up. Before concerns escalate, they may do a thorough inspection and make the necessary repairs.

Keep the surrounding area clean

Remove any obstructions, like leaves or snow, from around the outside unit to allow adequate air circulation. Always maintain a clutter-free zone surrounding the equipment.

Clean the filters

Filters should be cleaned or replaced often to maintain efficient air circulation. Frozen heat pumps may be the result of blocked airflow caused by dirty filters.

Unblock vents

Don’t block airflow by closing vents in unoccupied spaces. Because of this, the heat pump may overheat from trying to work too hard.

Set the thermostat to an optimum level

When the thermostat is set too low, the heat pump has to work harder, which might cause it to freeze up. To keep everything running smoothly, make sure the thermostat is set to a comfortable level.


A frozen heat pump is a regular problem homeowners face throughout winter. The good news is that defrosting a heat pump on your own is not complicated and can be done in a number of different ways. After taking all of the precautions listed above, if the heat pump is still freezing up, it is time to get in touch with a professional for assistance.

If you keep up with the normal maintenance on your heat pump and take other preventive actions, you could reduce the probability that it may freeze up again in the future. By following these instructions for maintaining your heat pump, you will be able to keep your home toasty and comfortable throughout the winter.