Why Is My Heat Pump Freezing Up In Summer?

frozen heat pump

One of the most crucial appliances in a home is a heat pump. It is a versatile machine that can warm up your home in the winter and cool you down in the summer. However, as all machinery does, it can exhibit problems at some point. For instance, are you aware that your heat pump can freeze over in warm weather? This is a common problem that homeowners tend to call us about. Keep reading to learn about what to do if you’re dealing with a heat pump freezing up in summer, including several tips on how to prevent it from happening in the first place.

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Heat Pump Freezing Up In Summer

If you have a frozen heat pump, don’t panic! It may seem severe, but it isn’t. Several reasons may be causing your heat pump to experience issues, which will be listed in this article.

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How Does A Heat Pump Work?

heat pump refrigeration cycle

A heat pump helps regulate the temperature in your indoor space. It works by transferring heat to different areas. During the summer, the heat pump moves the heat from indoors to the outdoors so your home stays cool and comfortable. This cycle can be reversed during the winter so you get a warm and comfortable home.

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Signs Of A Frozen Heat Pump

First, assess your heat pump to know if it is frozen or not. Luckily, a frozen heat pump gives off easy-to-recognize signs like:

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Heat Pump Is Not Working

homeowner suffering from heat due to heat pump not producing cold air

A home that doesn’t seem to be cooling down means your heat pump may not work. This is an obvious indication that the heat pump has an issue. After all, a frozen heat pump will not work properly and will not cool your home.

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Ice On The Heat Pump Unit

Ice or frost on the outdoor unit despite the summer heat is another symptom of a frozen heat pump. This typically points to frozen coils that need thawing.

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Water Leaking From The Unit

There is a high chance that the coils are frozen and the unit is thawing out if you notice that water leaks out of the outdoor unit. Check your HVAC unit by walking outside to see if these or other odd signs are present.

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What Causes Heat Pumps To Freeze?

Having a frozen heat pump can be frustrating, but knowing the reason behind it can be a big help. Here are several reasons your heat pump is freezing:

Outdoor Temperature

thermometer depicting high summer temperatures and broken heat pump

The heat pump may not work as it should if the temperature outside is too high. Your system cannot go cooler once the temperatures outside are 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

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Humidity, like temperature, causes the heat pump to overwork. High humidity means the heat pump will find it hard to remove moisture from the air. This results in condensation on the coils that can freeze.

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Doors & Windows

Opening windows or doors lets warm air inside your home, pushing the unit to constantly work to keep your home cool. This can wear out your unit and eventually damage it.

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Heat Pump Thermostat Setting

image of homeowner adjusting thermostat that controls hvac system

The unit will run continuously if the thermostat is set too low. It does so to reach the set temperature. However, it can result in frozen coils.

Broken Thermostat

A faulty thermostat causes your heat pump to switch on and off at random intervals. This can freeze the coils eventually.

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Refrigerant Levels

The refrigerant is a substance in your heat pump that makes the heat pump work. If there are problems with the substance, the system will stop working properly. For instance, a low refrigerant level in the heat pump will cause it to freeze. Only an HVAC professional can help resolve this task. 

It is never good to have a refrigerant leak. This is due to the chemical’s toxicity to humans and animals. It can cause skin and eye irritation and may even cause death. It can also freeze your heat pump. Don’t try to conduct a DIY cleanup or repair on a leaking refrigerant.

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Dirty Heat Pump Coil

ice on coil cooler of dirty heat pump

The refrigerant can be found in the evaporator coil. The unit works when the refrigerant absorbs the heat from the air. It cannot work efficiently if the coil is dirty.

Heat Pump Compressor

The compressor helps the refrigerant to move around the heat pump. If it is defective, the heat pump will not be able to cool your home. Your heat pump may also freeze over. 

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HVAC Airflow

A heat pump requires proper airflow to cool your home efficiently and effectively. Having reduced or blocked airflow can result in a frozen heat pump. Here are several ways the airflow in your heat pump can be restricted:

  • Air Filter: An air filter caked with dust and dirt can restrict the airflow and freeze the heat pump. Therefore, you need to conduct regular air filter replacements throughout the year so your unit can function properly.
  • Return Vents: Open all vents around your home. Ensure that no furniture, curtains, or other items are blocking the vents as well. 
  • Outdoor Unit: Proper clearance around the heat pump’s outdoor unit is crucial.
  • Blower: Some reasons for a restricted airflow include a defective blower, fan, or fan relay switch. These issues can result in the heat pump freezing in the summer.

Keep in mind that airflow is essential for your heat pump to work properly.

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What Can Be Done If Your Heat Pump Stops Working

image of homeowner calling hvac company

If you suspect you have a frozen heat pump, turn off the unit and let it thaw for several hours. If the unit still doesn’t work after this, call a professional HVAC contractor to diagnose the problem.

An expert HVAC technician will check the unit to find the source of the issue. They will also repair or replace the components that are improperly working.

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Steps To Take To Keep Your Heat Pump From Freezing In The Future

Heat pumps are prone to freezing. However, listed below are several steps to ensure it doesn’t happen:

  • Maintain the same temperature on your thermostat setting. Don’t switch it up and down frequently.
  • The air filter should be replaced regularly. A dirty air filter keeps air from flowing properly in your system. This can cause a frozen heat pump. Air filters require regular replacements, year-round, to help your unit run properly. 
  • The vents around your home should be kept open. Ensure that nothing is blocking them as well.
  • The outdoor unit should have proper clearance. Ensure that its perimeter is cleared. 
  • Book regular maintenance. Have a reliable HVAC company to maintain your unit twice a year, one for cooling and another for heating.

Turn off your heat pump if it does freeze. Call a professional immediately to help you.

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It can be frustrating and confusing when your heat pump freezes. However, you can troubleshoot the issue with the right knowledge. A local, experienced HVAC professional helps ensure your heat pump is back up and running soon.

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Contact Lawes Company For All Your HVAC Requirements

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Lawes Company provides heating and cooling services in Monmouth and Ocean Counties, New Jersey. Our team comprises the best professionally certified technicians who can conduct high-quality HVAC replacements, installations, tune-ups, and repairs. All our friendly techs are experienced and knowledgeable in servicing the HVAC system correctly.

Our company is known for providing quality and affordable services in the area. We can assist you in improving your comfort and energy efficiency while lowering your home heating and cooling bills. If you require a repair or replacement of your HVAC system, we can recommend the best solution for your home while working within your budget. Book a service appointment with Lawes Company today. Your satisfaction is important to us, so all our work is guaranteed. We offer free, in-home estimates.

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