Your Heat Pump Is Icing Up: What To Do

There are a number of reasons a heat pump can freeze up. When that happens, you’ll need to know the causes and solutions to get your heat pump operational again. Here’s a quick list of some common reasons your heat pump can freeze up and their corresponding home-care solutions:

Cause #1: Heat pumps can freeze up due to blockage of the vents and intake areas. In the fall, leaves can get into and under the pump. Winter emergencies such as snowdrifts can also block vents and intakes, which won’t allow the heat pump to work the way it’s supposed to.

Solution #1: Turn your heat pump off and remove all of the snow and ice. Check the vents and intakes for snow, leaves and other debris lodged inside. Clear out any material inside the intakes using a heavy duty vacuum or remove the vent grills and do it by hand. Once your pump is clear, you can turn it back on.

Cause #2: Over time, a heat pump may sink into the ground. If a pump sits too low, there’s nowhere for snow and freezing rain to go during melting. Basically, your pump will be unable to breathe.

Solution #2: If your heat pump sits too low you’ll need to raise it up to prevent this problem. Again, turn your heat pump off and disconnect it from its housing. Pull the heat pump out of the hole and underlay it with a block or secured feet so the pump is at ground level .

Cause #3: Freezing rain, or ice and rain dropping from a leaking rain gutter, can also cause your heat pump to seize up. If the top of the outside unit becomes frozen, the rest of your pump will follow suit.

Solution #3: In this case, water is both the cause and solution. Turn off your heat pump and use your water hose to spray the outside unit until the ice is removed. If this problem persists, consider placing a metal or wooden covering on top to keep freezing rain from gathering. The covering should be designed by a professional. Also, make sure your gutters are clear and not leaking.

For the best air conditioning and heating advice, please contact us at Metal Masters, Inc. We’ve been serving southern Oregon and northern California since 1968.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Southern Oregon and Northern California about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about Heat Pumps and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

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