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Sep 29, 2023

How To Fix Heat Pump Freezing Up in Winter

You’ve just discovered your heat pump is frozen solid. We’ve all been there at some point, especially during winter’s icy grip. But fear not! With step-by-step guidance, you can get your heat pump back in action and your home back to its cozy best.

How to fix a heat pump freezing up in winter

If your heat pump freezes in winter, clear any snow or debris around it, ensure the coils and filters are clean, and prevent gutters from dripping onto the unit. Turn off the heat pump but keep the fan on to help defrost. If problems persist, consult an HVAC professional.

Let’s dive deeper into how to handle a frozen heat pump:

Step 1: Don’t panic and do a quick survey

Before diving into more hands-on solutions, take a moment to check the surroundings of your heat pump. Are there any immediate obstructions, like snow or debris, hindering airflow?

Step 2: Give your heat pump some breathing space

Ensure there’s enough clearance around your heat pump. Remove any blockages, like leaves, snow, or stray items. This helps with airflow and prevents further freezing issues.

Step 3: Check your gutters

It’s surprising how often this is overlooked. Gutters dripping onto your heat pump can exacerbate the freezing problem. Ensure they’re draining away from the unit and fix any leaks.

Step 4: Power down and let the fan do its job

Head over to your thermostat. Turn off the heat pump but leave the fan on. This can help in de-icing the unit faster.

Step 5: When in doubt, call for help

If you’ve tried the steps above and the unit remains frozen or unsure about any part of the process, it’s always best to contact a professional. Our heating experts at Season Control HVAC can diagnose and resolve the issue without risking damage to your system.

Final Thoughts

A frozen heat pump can be a nerving experience in more ways than one, but with a calm approach and the proper steps, it doesn’t have to throw your entire day off. Remember that regular maintenance and check-ups can also prevent such issues.

If you’re ever in doubt or find the task too daunting, remember that expert help is just a phone call away. Season Control HVAC ensures your comfort, no matter the season. Contact us today, and let’s keep the warmth flowing.


To prevent your heat pump from freezing, ensure no debris or snow obstructing airflow around it. Regularly clean the coils and filters to maintain efficiency. Ensure gutters don’t drip onto the unit, as excess water can cause freezing. Schedule regular maintenance checks with an HVAC professional to ensure all parts are in optimal condition.

Heat pumps might struggle to extract heat from the outside during extreme cold. To counteract this, ensure the unit is free from ice or snow buildup. Set the thermostat to a consistent temperature rather than continuously adjusting it. If your system has an auxiliary or emergency heat mode, consider using it during the coldest periods. It’s also advisable to combine the heat pump’s operation with another heat source, like a furnace, during extremely cold conditions.

Heat pumps can freeze in the winter due to restricted airflow from debris or snow buildup, malfunctioning defrost controls, dirty or clogged coils, low refrigerant levels, or faulty fan motors. Regular maintenance and cleaning can help mitigate some of these causes.

While pouring warm (not hot) water can help melt the ice on a frozen heat pump, it’s essential to exercise caution. Do not use boiling water, which can damage the coils and other components. After melting the ice, it’s vital to address the root cause of the freeze-up to prevent recurrence. If you’re uncertain, it’s best to consult our HVAC professionals.


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