why does my heat pump freeze up

One common problem that many homeowners encounter during the colder months is a frozen heat pump. In order to understand why a heat pump freezes, one doesnвt need to be an HVAC expert. Here are some common reasons why a heat pump freezes and what you can do about it. During the summer time and periods of warm weather, a heat pump functions just like any other air conditioning system. Once the cold weather arrives, the heat pump starts to transfer energy from the outside of your home to the inside by altering the flow of coolant in the system. The energy is used to heat your home when it is cold outside. A heat pump is best suited for temperatures above 32 degrees Fahrenheit. When the temperatures drop below that mark, ice starts to form on the coils, refrigerant lines, and condenser of the unit. Many heat pumps have a defrost option that one can use to help keep freezing from occurring when the temperatures occasionally dip too low. Frequent and prolonged exposure to low temperatures will damage the heat pump and bring about the need for costly repairs or replacement. Freezing is more likely to occur when refrigerant or coolant levels are low. During the fall and winter seasons, it is extremely important for homeowners to be diligent about checking their heat pumpвs refrigerant or coolant levels.


These levels need to be close to perfect in order to ensure proper operation of the unit when there is extremely cold weather. Homeowners should hire an HVAC professional to check the refrigerant levels in their heat pump and have them filled when necessary. Sometimes there may be problems with installation that may not arise until the temperatures start to drop. Some problems will reduce the amount of airflow to the pump and cause it to freeze. Other installation
are improperly sized coils, refrigerant lines, or even having a heat pump that is too big or too small for the home. An HVAC inspection will confirm if a homeowner has a properly installed heat pump and whether there will be any problems with its operation. Coils that are blocked or dirty will cause a heat pump to work harder, leading to higher energy bills. In many cases, dirt and clogged coils will also affect the efficiency of the heat pump since the motor will eventually burn out much faster. More heat escapes from dirty and clogged coils instead of being transferred into the home to increase comfort. A heat pump that is not able to drain properly will freeze very quickly as the weather gets colder.


To prevent problems with drainage, watch the unit for signs of dripping and leaking. Play close attention to where the moisture and condensation drain too. Make sure that the system is not sitting in any water, snow, or other substances that can interfere with operations. Exposure to freezing rain, snow or cold temperatures for long periods of time will reduce the efficiency of any heat pump will cause it to freeze from the outside and render the unit useless. Make sure that the entire air conditioning system and heat pump are situated on a platform that keeps it from being covered with snow, water and debris. Consider placing the unit under an awning in an area where rainwater will not run off from the roof or drip down into the system. When it comes to heat pumps some freezing is to be expected, however frequent occurrences may be indicative of a problem. Ways to keep a heat pump from freezing include: Get an inspection at the start of summer and winter. Keep the heat pump and other HVAC components clean and clear of snow, debris, and leaves. Change the filter every month. Pay attention to the environment inside of the home. A malfunctioning heat pump will not be able to cool or heat the inside of a home as efficiently as it should.


Keep in mind that there are many reasons why a heat pump can freeze. Homeowners can handle some issues such as changing filters and removing leaves, snow, and debris themselves. It is best to contact a professional HVAC company, like Assured Climate, for assistance for any other issues and concerns, such as freezing or reduced output. Assured Climate will ensure that your heat pump and cooling system is ready to keep the temperature inside of your home pleasant and comfortable all year round. Call us today at 804-739-0500! Sources: There are several factors that can lead to your heat pump freezing up during the summer cooling season or the winter season. You can fix some of the simple problems that lead to freezing yourself, while it will be necessary to call an HVAC expert for more technical repairs. It s normal for heat pump coils to have a light coating of frost on them, but a thick ice buildup is a sign of operating problems that will prevent your system from heating and cooling properly and can lead to your heat pump freezing up. A heat pump has automatic controls that should send the unit into defrost mode to prevent ice buildup during normal operation. An HVAC technician can check to be sure those controls are operating correctly.


Ice can build up on the coils if the airflow across them is restricted. This could be caused by clogged filters, blocked ducts or by blockage of the outdoor unit by leaves, grass or snow. Be sure your supply and return ducts are unobstructed by furniture, carpeting or closed doors; clean or replace theP regularly and keep your outdoor unit free of debris. Conditions unrelated to the mechanical integrity of your system can lead to a heat pump freezing up. Freezing rain or leaking gutters can let ice accumulate on your outdoor unit and block airflow. Be sure that any water that condenses in your outdoor unit is free to drain away from the equipment. Check to see that the concrete slab the unit is on hasn t settled or shifted to cause water to accumulate inside the condensing unit. Other factors that could impede your heat pump s proper operation include an insufficient refrigerant charge, faulty valve operation, a worn-out motor or fan and other electronic or mechanical problems that your technician should be able to identify and repair. Contact the pros at for expert repair and maintenance of your heat pump in the Gary area. Our technicians can help you keep your home Pand comfortable all year long.

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