The winter weather can turn very cold here in the Cleveland area and when you combine that with the occasional lake-effect snow or blizzard, a frozen heat pump can become a very serious problem. More than likely, a problem with your heat pump would require a visit from your HVAC technician to fix, but there are a few simple maintenance tasks that you can do that may help to avoid this problem.

Preventative measures

  • Keep the area around the heat pump free of ice, snow, leaves and debris.
  • If water is dripping on the unit from a leaky gutter, fix the gutter.
  • If the heat pump has sunken into the ground, it needs to be elevated. This should be done by a licensed HVAC tech.

Thawing a frozen heat pump

There are a few things that you can do to try and thaw your frozen heat pump while you wait for a tech to make a service call.

  • If ice has frozen across the top of the unit, turn it off and remove the ice.
  • Ice can be removed with a garden hose, but first be sure the unit is turned off.
  • Turn on the air conditioning. Yes, you read that right. Turning on the A/C reverses the system and can thaw a frozen heat pump in a pinch. It usually only takes around 15 minutes to thaw, so set the thermostat to just barely come on. If the heat pump freezes up again, you should schedule a service call.
  • Never, under any circumstance, chip ice off of the coils with a sharp object. This can damage the coils and cause serious injury.

For more information about how to deal with a frozen heat pump or to schedule a service call, contact the experts at Stack Heating, Cooling, Plumbing and Electric. We’ve proudly served homeowners throughout the greater Cleveland area since 1976.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Cleveland, Ohio about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about dealing with a frozen heat pump and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.

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