Heat Pumps Freezing

What to do When Your Heat Pump Freezes in the Winter

There’s nothing better than coming home to a warm, toasty house in the wintertime. But what are you supposed to do if your heat pump suddenly freezes, and you’re left without heat? The first thing to do is pause, take a breath, and don’t panic. Not having heat is definitely a significant problem, especially in the dead of winter, but there could be a simple, easy-to-fix problem that’s causing your heat pump to freeze. If it ends up being more complicated than you can handle? Luckily, the team at River City Heating & Air is on-call 24/7, 365 days a year to help with heat pump repair in Richmond in case of an emergency. All you have to do is call, and a highly trained and experienced HVAC professional will be at your home to fix your heat pump as soon as possible.

Common Causes of Heat Pump Freezing

Heat pumps can freeze over for a myriad of reasons. The most obvious is a sudden ice or snow storm or a sudden dip in temperature. You can tell your heat pump is frozen by looking for excessive frost or ice on the coils or refrigerant lines. Heat pump freezing could also be due to improper installation, blocked airflow, low refrigerant levels, faulty defrost thermostats or sensors, and a range of other technical issues.

frozen heat pump

Find the Source of the Problem

The first thing you’re going to want to do is turn off your heat pump. You don’t want it to damage itself by trying to operate through malfunction or have it kick back up suddenly while you’re working on it. Then, try to identify the source of the problem. Is a gutter dripping water on your heat pump that’s then freezing over? If this is the case, simply redirect the water flow or patch the leak, so it’s not dripping on your pump. Has your heat pump settled into the ground so much that it can no longer drain properly? Call a professional to raise it up onto blocks or feet so it can resume proper drainage. You don’t want to handle this yourself in case you do any further damage in the process. Is debris like leaves or other plant life blocking the outdoor coil? Is furniture blocking your indoor vent? Remove any blockages and see if that fixes the problem. If none of these seem to be the culprit, you likely have a more complicated problem like a sticking valve, faulty fan motor, or broken defrost control. All of these issues need to be tended to by a licensed HVAC professional.

Run Your Heat Pump’s Defrost Cycle

Most modern heat pumps come with a defrost cycle when you buy them. The defrost cycle warms the high-pressure refrigerant which then circulates through the outdoor coil and unfreezes the pump. Try running the defrost cycle on your heat pump and see if that solves the issue. Some older heat pump models will also have a defrost cycle, but they’ll likely be run by a mechanical timer instead of a temperature sensor. If you have an older heat pump and the defrost cycle doesn’t seem to be having any effect, it’s probably time to replace the entire pump.

Annual HVAC Maintenance

The best way to avoid dealing with a sudden heat pump freezing is to get your HVAC system inspected and maintained on a yearly basis. This kind of preventative maintenance can end up saving you a ton of money in the long run and extend the life of your entire HVAC system for years. Most people wait to get their heating system checked until winter has already set in. To beat the rush, consider scheduling your HVAC maintenance for some time in autumn. It wouldn’t hurt to go ahead and schedule a mid-winter checkup just to give yourself some more peace of mind.

River City Heating & Air offers expert commercial and residential heat pump repair in Richmond, Virginia. Their technicians are the best in the area and know how to repair, troubleshoot, and maintain all kinds of heating and cooling systems. River City Heating & Air is available to help 24/7, so you never need to panic in an emergency. Their staff is timely, polite, and knowledgeable and will be at your door to help as soon as possible. With over 20 years of experience in the industry, River City Heating & Air ensures that you’ll be 100% satisfied with their work. They get the job done right the first time around.