What? My Heater Can Freeze?

If your heater stops producing warm air and automatically shuts off, you might be wondering what’s wrong with it. Believe it or not, your coils may have frozen over. What? A frozen heater? It’s true; while it sounds like a ridiculous oxymoron, it’s possible for the coils in your heat pump to freeze over, causing your precious heater to stop functioning when you need it most. Let’s take a closer look at a few of the ways this can happen and how it works.

Causes of Frozen Heat Pump Coils

Your heat pump is a fairly complex piece of equipment that expands or compresses refrigerant in order to extract or radiate heat from the air around it. When you turn on your heater, the expansion of the refrigerant causes it to condense, which creates moisture on your coils. This moisture is what can turn into frost and eventually ice, resulting in your system freezing up and not working properly.

Generally, this freezing is caused when the coils receive inadequate airflow, but there are other causes as well. Here are three of the most common reasons you might have to deal with a frozen heat pump.

  • Dirty air filter: It’s impossible to understate how important the air filter is to your system. When the air filter in your heater becomes too dirty, it doesn’t allow an adequate amount of air to flow through it, which means your coils won’t receive the amount of air they need to function properly. This can lead to all sorts of issues including overheating during summer, and, yes, freezing over during winter. It’s fairly simple to prevent this from happening: check your air filter every month and replace it as necessary.
  • Dirty surrounding area: The area around your outdoor unit can become blocked up with dirt, dust, leaves, and snow, which can severely restrict airflow around your heat pump. Keep this area clean and clear; sweep away debris within at least a two-foot radius of your outdoor unit, and shovel away snow that gets in this area as well to ensure your system gets adequate airflow.
  • Dirty coils: Water vapor condenses on your coils naturally as a part of the heating and cooling process, and that means a light layer of frost on your coils is perfectly normal. However, when your coils get dirty, they can’t adjust their temperature as consistently, and the frost can accumulate faster. This leads to a cascading “snowball” effect that eventually causes your coils to freeze over and your system to shut down until they’ve melted away.

Want to prevent your heat pump from freezing over? The easiest way is to have your system maintained by a Kerrville heating repairs specialist as soon as possible. A maintenance service includes cleaning and inspection of important components that could contribute to a coil freezing problem.

Schedule your maintenance service today! Call 72 Degrees Air Conditioning & Heating at (830) 302-3140 to request a service appointment or receive an estimate!