Skip to main content
frozen unit

My HVAC System Froze In The Winter...Now What?

Cold winter days can wreak havoc on your body and your home. One aspect of your home that you may not think about until it's too late is your HVAC system. It's not uncommon for your heat pump system to freeze up throughout the winter season. Knowing how to respond makes all the difference.

Why Does My Heat Pump Freeze Over?

When people refer to a frozen heat pump, they're talking about the exterior HVAC unit. Whenever your heat pump runs the heat for a while, it's moving the heat from outside into your home.  This process uses refrigerant to help move the air along.

As the cool air makes its way outdoors, it creates condensation on your outdoor coil. If your heat pump doesn't defrost when it's programmed to, the water on your outdoor coil can freeze. This will prevent your entire heat pump from working.

It's crucial to program your heat pump to turn to defrost mode every 30, 60, or 90 minutes. When your system is running in defrost mode, it will blow warm air over the condenser coils in the outside unit. This process usually takes around 30 minutes. You'll notice steam coming off of your outdoor unit.

Problems That Lead to a Frozen Outdoor Unit

Restricted airflow is one of the most common problems that leads to a frozen HVAC unit. You need to ensure that the area surrounding your outdoor HVAC unit is clear from snow and other debris. Without adequate airflow through the unit, it can cause ice to build up.

Clogged air filters and debris in your ducts can restrict airflow in your HVAC system. When ice builds up, it could cause your unit to freeze before its scheduled defrost mode kicks on.

How Do You Unfreeze Your HVAC Unit?

Once you have realized that your HVAC unit has frozen, you'll need to determine how to unfreeze it. First, you'll want to turn your thermostat to the fan position. You'll need to let it run on fan mode for at least a couple of hours until the ice defrosts from your outdoor unit.

You may want to speed up the process by pouring hot water on your unit or trying to break up the ice with a sharp object. We do not recommend these options as they can result in damage to your outdoor HVAC unit.

Contact Our HVAC Professionals Today

If you're still struggling to get your HVAC unit defrosted, contact us today. Our knowledgeable HVAC professionals can assist you in getting your heat pump unfrozen.  Our goal is to get it back to producing adequate heat for your home.