BVS Home Experts

Why Is My Heat Pump Freezing up in the Summer?

Are you having problems with your heat pump? BVS can help when you call (281) 391-1510.

Have you noticed the unusual phenomenon of your heat pump accumulating ice even though it’s hot outside? You must be wondering, “Why is my heat pump freezing up in summer?” Keep reading to discover the answer.

As the best heat pump installation experts in Texas, BVS knows every nuance associated with your heat pump. Whether it freezes or refuses to run altogether, we identify the problem and fix it.

How the Heat Pump Works

Heat pumps are efficient HVAC devices that provide both heating and cooling in a single unit. Because the HVAC technician only has to maintain a single unit, it can run more efficiently and require less maintenance costs than a traditional system.

But how does it work? Rather than exclusively creating hot or cold air, the heat pump primarily transfers the air. In the summer, it pumps warm air outside, and in the winter, it rids the home of cold air. However, they still require the same components of a traditional air conditioner, such as refrigerant and evaporator coils.

Reasons Your Heat Pump Freezes

Ice buildup in your heat pump is never a good sign and always means something needs attention. The problem is one of four things.

1. Refrigerant Levels

If you’re asking, “Why is my heat pump freezing up in summer?” one of the most common issues is your device’s refrigerant levels. Refrigerant is the primary way the heat pump transports heat between the coils and the heat exchanger.

In a fully functional heat pump, the refrigerant stays within a self-contained system. However, as the device ages, the refrigerant line can spring a leak, reducing its levels below what’s necessary for it to function. Your HVAC technician can locate the leak, repair it, and restore refrigerant levels to normal. 

Never handle refrigerant yourself. Freon, the substance used in refrigerant, is toxic and harmful to the environment. Only a trained professional can properly dispose of refrigerant.

2. Dirty Evaporator Coil

The heat pump’s refrigerant runs through the evaporator coil and delivers the air to it. With dust and other substances present in the air, the coil becomes dirty over time, preventing the condensation from evaporating. Eventually, this condensation forms into a layer of ice.

3. Poor Airflow

Your heat pump’s air filter is one way it prevents dirt from building up on the evaporator coil. If you don’t replace your air filter regularly, it can restrict airflow, preventing condensation from leaving the coil. If furniture or other material is blocking your heat pump’s return vent, it can also reduce the airflow enough to cause problems.

4. Broken Defroster

Heat pumps include a defroster to help avoid ice buildup both during the summer and winter. While the high summer heat should mean you don’t need the defroster, if your heat pump is working extra hard, it might require the defrost function. Occasionally, the defrost breaks, requiring repairs to keep your device free of ice.

The Dangers of a Frozen Heat Pump

If you notice ice on your heat pump during the summer, shut off the device and call for repairs immediately. If you continue running the heat pump while it’s frozen, you will experience the following problems:

  • Poor air quality: A frozen heat pump can’t properly cool your home, so at the very least you’ll experience lukewarm air during the harsh summer heat. If a dirty air filter causes ice buildup, you’ll also likely have more severe allergies and respiratory issues than normal.
  • Increased energy bills: With ice building up, your heat pump works harder while attempting to keep up. The harder it works, the more fuel it burns, and your energy bills skyrocket. Shutting off the heat pump saves you money on energy bills, especially since the heat pump won’t adequately cool your air.
  • Severe damage: If you continue running your heat pump while it’s frozen, you put your device at serious risk of greater damage or complete failure. Your technician can affordably restore refrigerant levels and address dirt accumulation. However, the damage caused by running the heat pump while frozen will cost you significantly more.

How to Prevent Your Heat Pump from Freezing

How can you keep your heat pump from freezing? The following best practices can help you:

  • Schedule regular maintenance: Annual maintenance is the best way to prevent costly repairs and freezing. The best time for heat pump maintenance is in the spring when the weather is most temperate. In addition to other valuable maintenance and inspection procedures, the technician will check the refrigerant levels, clean the evaporator coil, and replace the air filter.
  • Clean your air filter: While most air filters last around 90 days before they require replacement, check your filter every 30 days to detect problems before they become serious. If you have pets, smoke, experience respiratory issues or allergies, or live in a polluted area, you’ll likely replace your air filter more frequently. Your HVAC service professional can help you find the best air filter for your heat pump, depending on your lifestyle and climate.
  • Clear the space: Your heat pump contains both interior and exterior components, and it’s important to keep both clean and free of any blockages. Inside your home, keep furniture and curtains away to avoid restricting airflow. Outside, prune any plants that encroach on the device and keep lawn furniture and decor out of the area.

Never cover your heat pump to prevent it from accumulating dust and dirt. The heat pump runs year-round, and covering can restrict the airflow, causing the very problem you’re trying to avoid.

Call BVS for All Your Heat Pump Needs

Now that you know the answer to, “Why is my heat pump freezing up in summer?” you can take proper steps to fix it. BVS has served the Houston area for over 40 years. We have a demonstrated history of quality work and satisfied customers. 

Whether you need heat pump replacement or maintenance, BVS can help. To book an appointment, call (281) 391-1510.

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