What Happens When Your Heat Pump Freezes

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This year, the greater Phoenix area has already experienced evenings and mornings with temperatures near freezing or even below freezing in outlying areas. Some homeowners may have already encountered a frozen heat pump. Under normal operation, frost develops on the heat pump’s outdoor coils. When the frost begins to build up, the unit automatically shifts into defrost mode to melt the frost. If this defrosting mechanism malfunctions, ice can build up to a point that the heat pump freezes and stops working.

What To Do

Sometimes the unit itself is not the problem. One of the first things you can do if you notice ice buildup on your heat pump is to see if the water is coming from an external source. A leaky gutter above the unit or freezing rain can cause ice buildup that blocks airflow past the coils.
Blocked air vents, clogged air filters, and debris build up around the unit may restrict airflow. Clear away all debris surrounding your outside unit and move any items inside the home that are blocking your air vents. Change HVAC air filters every month during cooler months to maintain consistent, clean air flow indoors.

An HVAC Professional Can Troubleshoot

A qualified local HVAC technician can troubleshoot issues with your home’s frozen heat pump.
Sometimes, water accumulates inside the condenser because the slab underneath the unit shifts or settles. Your technician can offer solutions for improving drainage. They will check the unit’s automatic defrost controls for faulty or worn components. Repairs may include replacing a faulty sensor, thermostat, defrost relay, or reversing valve.
Your heat pump is vulnerable to icing if the refrigerant level drops significantly. If this is the case, the technician will have to determine the source of the leak and repair it before refilling the system with refrigerant. Technicians must be certified by the U.S. EPA to work with refrigerants, so this is certainly a job you don’t want to tackle without help from an experienced technician.

Bruce’s Can Help

Ice build-up on your outdoor unit is the most obvious sign when your heat pump freezes up in wintertime or any time of the year. You can count on the experts at Bruce’s Air Conditioning & Heating to offer complete and affordable solutions for all your residential heat pump situations. It’s as easy as calling 480-968-5652 any day of the year including nights and holidays.

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