What to Do About a Frozen Heat Pump

It’s not unusual for heat pumps to ice up, especially when the weather is cold. However, excessive ice and/or long periods of being frozen are a cause for concern, and should never be ignored if you want to keep heater and AC repair needs at bay and make sure your heat pump continues running smoothly for a long time.

Why Heat Pumps Ice Up

When heat pumps are in use, they generate heat that turns refrigerant to gas, which condenses as it meets outdoor coils. During the winter, this condensation freezes, resulting in the unit icing up.

The Heat Pump Defrost Cycle

It’s normal for heat pumps to ice up, which is why they’re designed to run in cycles, triggering a defrosting function when a certain temperature is reached. Defrosting cycles last about ten to 15 minutes, depending on the level of icing to be addressed. With this function in place, heat pumps generally can function efficiently throughout the winter season.

When to Take Action

When a heat pump is unable to defrost properly or quickly enough, the risk of damage or malfunctioning increases. Icing that’s severe enough can result in broken fan blades, cut off air intake and refrigerant leaks. To avoid serious damage and energy losses due to inefficient operation, call a heater and AC company when:

  • Your entire heat pump is frozen over
  • Your heat pump has been frozen for a long time
  • The top of the unit and inner coils are covered in ice
  • The defrost cycle isn’t properly working
  • Air isn’t being pulled in

In addition to the temperature simply being too cold or the defrost cycle just not working, it’s also possible for a heat pump to ice up when it’s low on refrigerant, it’s time for an air filter replacement or it has a faulty component inside.

A STAR Air Conditioning and Heating is the expert to trust for all your heating and cooling needs. To learn more about what we can do for you, simply give us a call at (954) 761-2600 or fill out our contact form. Talk to us today to get a heat pump or AC unit cost estimate.