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What to do if your Heat Pump is frozen

Jan 10, 2022

It’s not uncommon to find your heat pump developing ice, even in the summertime. Some heat pumps have a defrosting cycle to help take care of any built-up ice, but this isn’t ideal for all situations. If you find your heat pump frozen in winter and covered in layers of ice, turn it off to reduce the amount of damage to your unit. If you want, you can call in a professional to assist in resolving the issue.


Read on to learn more about how to thaw a frozen heat pump.

How Do I Know if My Heat Pump is Frozen

It can be difficult to know if your heat pump is frozen over without a visual inspection. However, some signs indicate an issue is occurring. Your entire heat pump unit can freeze over or just the coils themselves can freeze over until the unit is inoperable. It’s not uncommon for either situation to occur, but both are serious.


If you’re wondering, “How do I know if my heat pump is frozen?” here is one of the telltale signs: your heat pump is operating improperly. Heat pumps are an energy-efficient means of providing heat for your home, so if you find your home isn’t maintaining your desired temperature—or even the temperature set on your thermostat—then this could indicate your heat pump is frozen over.


Here are other key signs:


  • The top of your unit and coil system look like they're covered in ice
  • The defrost cycle won't activate
  • Air is not being pulled into the unit

What to Do if I Find My Heat Pump Frozen in Winter

If you find your heat pump frozen, check to see if it has a defrosting cycle to help take care of the issue on its own. This is a necessary function on heat pumps, especially for units in colder climates. They can help keep your heat pump from completely icing over. However, if your unit is already covered in ice, then the defrost cycle may not be enough to get it up and running again.


If your heat pump is not defrosting at all or enough to allow your unit to run again, then here are a few things you should do:


  • Check the air filters and make sure it's in good condition. Replace it if there seems to be a lot of buildups. This will allow your unit to run easier.
  • Inspect the fins of the condensing fan to ensure it is clear of debris, leaves, and any dirt that may be preventing it from working.
  • If there is any visible ice on your unit, don't scrape it off since that can damage unit and the coils. Let the ice melt before testing your unit. Pouring hot water on frozen heat pump can help melt ice faster.
  • If it's warm enough, turn your heat pump on to "fan" mode until the ice melts.

Common Questions About a Frozen Heat Pump

Can I Pour Hot Water on My Heat Pump?

Yes. You can pour hot or warm water over your heat pump to melt off any snow and ice. In some regions that aren’t too cold, you can even use cold water from a hose. Pouring hot water on frozen heat pump is a common means of thawing your unit. Avoid using any sharp, metal objects to scrape off snow and ice since this can damage your unit.

How to Thaw a Frozen Heat Pump?

The best way to thaw a frozen heat pump is with the defrosting cycle. If this doesn’t work, you can pour water over your unit to melt ice and snow. Lastly, you can turn your unit on “fan” mode to circulate air and help melt the ice.

If Nothing Else Works, Call the Experts

If your heat pump is still frozen or keeps refreezing despite your attempts to resolve the issue, then it’s time to call in an expert to help. Our experienced team at CroppMetcalfe can help thaw out your heat pump and resolve any issues that are leading it to freeze up. We can get your unit up and work again in no time.



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