Why Is My Heat Pump Freezing Up?


Our team at Eller Services regularly gets calls about frozen heat pumps. Though common, a heat pump freeze-up usually means your system’s components are not working correctly. Sometimes you can fix it yourself. But oftentimes, you will need to call a heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) professional, like us, as the problem may require a part replacement or complex repair.

Heat Pump Brain Freeze

To help sort things out, here are the six usual suspects causing heat pumps to freeze up:

1. Clogged Air Filter

When air filters are left to collect particles for too long, they become clogged. This hinders airflow, trapping moisture. Dust, pet dander, and smoke are just a few examples of things that can clog your filter. 

The National Air Filter Association (NAFA) recommends changing your system’s filter as soon as it is loaded with dust and debris. How quickly your filter becomes clogged depends on many factors in your home. At Eller Services, we recommend switching to a new filter minimally every three months.

Try replacing your air filter, then running your unit’s heat setting to melt the ice. If this does not clear the problem, contact one of our trained experts to come out to help.

2. Low or Empty Refrigerant

If your heat pump is low on refrigerant, it may be leaking. This can be from of a weakened solder joint, a failed valve, or unsecured fittings. Also, when a component rubs against the refrigerant tank over time, it could eventually puncture it, leading to a freeze-up. 

When the pipes start rattling, play it safe and power down your heat pump. Then contact one of our HVAC professionals for immediate inspection.

3. Filthy Evaporator Coil

Refrigerant flows through your heat pump’s evaporator coil. It transports heat into your Rochester Hills home during cool weather and pulls it out during hot weather. When the coil becomes dirty, its ability to transfer heat is impaired. Compromised airflow can lead to a freeze-up. 

If you notice ice on your coils, power down your heat pump. Then gently pour warm water over the coils to melt the ice. If your coils freeze back up, call one of our HVAC team members.

4. Faulty Blower Motor

If your blower motor is not up to speed, it can wreak havoc on your system, leading to a freeze-up.

The fan may start and stop intermittently, run at a reduced spinning cycle, or not run at all. If this is the case, have someone from Eller Services replace it.

5. Dirty Fan Blades

When the blower’s fan blades are dirty, this compromises the system’s airflow and exhaust output. Moisture may become trapped and turn into ice. If this happens, give us a call to correct it, as the fan blades are quite delicate.

6. Wintertime Neglect

Depending on your heat pump model and your Michigan home’s geographic location, some air-source heat pumps (ASHPs) do not always operate efficiently in colder temperatures. Check with one of our experts if this is an issue for your heat pump. 

Also, the unit should be completely level with the ground; any tilting can cause moisture to get trapped and become frozen. Again, talk to our HVAC professionals if you believe your heat pump is not level.

Finally, your unit should be away from gutter flow, as this can cause ice formation. During the winter, always check for ice accumulation around or on your unit, and clear it to prevent further issues.

Contact Us With Any Heat Pump Issues

Experiencing a frozen heat pump? Our Eller Services team of experienced HVAC professionals is just around the corner in Rochester Hills, MI, to assist you. Call us today at 248-652-6650 or request service online if you need a repair or are interested in upgrading your current system.

Need HVAC Service?

Contact the experts at Eller Services.

Call us at 248-652-6650!

Read More of Our Articles

View other articles.