Everything You Need To Know About Your Heat Pump Freezing Up In Summer

frozen heat pump in summer

Homeowners know that the heat pump is one of the most important pieces of equipment in a home. Its versatility can keep you warm in the winter and cool in the summer. However, like all machinery, a heat pump can exhibit problems from time to time. For example, did you know that it’s possible for a heat pump to freeze during the summer? A heat pump freezing up in summer is a common heat pump issue that homeowners tend to contact us about. In this article, we discuss what you need to know if you have a frozen heat pump on your hands. We also share some tips on how to prevent your heat pump from freezing up in the first place.

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Heat Pump Freezing Up In Summer: What You Need To Know

If your heat pump is frozen, there are a few things you should know. First, it is best that you don’t panic! It’s not as serious as it may seem. There are several reasons why your heat pump may be having issues, and we’ll go over all of them here.

How Does A Heat Pump Work?

heat pump operationA heat pump is a device that helps regulate the temperature in your home. It does this by transferring heat to different areas. In the summer, the heat pump moves heat from your home into the outdoors. This keeps your home cool and comfortable. As you know, you can reverse its cycle in winter for a warm and comfortable home.

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What Are The Signs Of A Frozen Heat Pump?

The first step in assessing your heat pump is to recognize if it is frozen or not. Luckily, there are several easy-to-recognize signs of a frozen heat pump, including:

Heat Pump Is Not Working

image of a homeowner using a fan to keep cool due to frozen heat pump

If your home does not seem to be cooling down, your heat pump may not be working. This is a pretty obvious sign that there is a problem. If your heat pump is frozen, it will not work properly and will not be able to cool your home.

Ice On The Heat Pump Unit

Another symptom of a frozen heat pump is ice or frost on the heat pump outdoor unit even in the heat of summer. This is usually an indication that the coils are frozen and need to be thawed out.

Water Leaking From The Unit

If there is water leaking from the outdoor unit, it is likely because the coils are frozen and the unit is thawing out.

Take a walk outside and look at your HVAC unit for these or any other unusual signs.

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What Causes Heat Pumps To Freeze?

A frozen heat pump is frustrating, but knowing why there is an issue can help. There are a few things that can cause your heat pump to freeze up, including:

Outdoor Temperature

thermometer depicting high summer temperatures and heat pump operation

If it’s too warm outside, your heat pump may not be able to work properly. In fact, once the outside temperatures reach about 100 degrees Fahrenheit, your system simply cannot go any cooler.


Like temperature, humidity forces your heat pump to work harder. High humidity makes it difficult for the heat pump to remove moisture from the air. This can lead to condensation on the coils, which can then freeze.

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Doors & Windows

If you have open doors or windows, warm air can enter your home forcing the HVAC unit to work continuously to keep your home cool. This can take its toll over time and damage the unit.

Heat Pump Thermostat Setting

thermostat and comfort control

If your thermostat is set too low, the unit will run continuously in an effort to reach the desired temperature. This can cause the coils to freeze.

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Broken Thermostat

A broken thermostat can cause your heat pump to turn on and off erratically. This can also lead to the coils freezing.

Refrigerant Levels

image of manometer measuring heat pump refrigerant pressure

Refrigerant is the fluid in your heat pump unit that makes the entire system work. If you are having refrigerant issues, everything stops working properly. For example, if the refrigerant level in the heat pump is low, it can cause the unit to freeze up. This is a task that only an HVAC professional can help with.

Leaking refrigerants are never a good situation because refrigerants are toxic to pets and people. It can cause anything from skin and eye irritation to death. it can cause your heat pump to freeze up. Do not attempt to clean up or repair leaking refrigerant on your own.

Dirty Heat Pump Coil

image of a dirty heat pump coil

The refrigerant in your unit is located in the evaporator coil. The unit works when the refrigerant in the evaporator coil absorbs hot air and cools it. If the coil is dirty, it cannot operate efficiently.

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Heat Pump Compressor

The compressor is the part of the heat pump that helps move the refrigerant around. If the compressor isn’t working properly, then it will be unable to cool your home and you may notice that your heat pump is freezing over.

HVAC Airflow

dirty heat pump filter

A heat pump needs proper airflow to work effectively and efficiently when cooling your home. When the airflow is reduced or blocked, it can cause the unit to freeze up. There are many ways the airflow could be restricted, including:

  • Air Filter: A dirty air filter can restrict airflow and cause the heat pump to freeze up. Air filters need to be replaced regularly, year-round, in order to help your unit function properly.
  • Return Vents: Make sure all the vents in your home are open and not blocked by furniture or other objects.
  • Outdoor Unit: The outdoor unit of the heat pump needs to have proper clearance around it.
  • Blower: A faulty blower, fan, or fan relay switch can also restrict airflow and cause the heat pump to freeze in summer.

Airflow is essential for a properly working heat pump.

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What Do You Do If Your Heat Pump Stops Working?

If you think your heat pump is frozen, the first thing you should do is turn off the unit. Once the unit is turned off, give it a few hours to thaw out. If after a few hours the unit is still not working, you will need to call a professional HVAC contractor to come and take a look at it.

An HVAC professional will assess your unit and determine what is causing the problem. They will be able to repair or replace any parts that are not working properly.

What Can You Do To Prevent Your Heat Pump From Freezing Up In The Future?

image of a heat pump tune-up

Heat pumps are susceptible to freezing, but there are several things you can do to help prevent it, including:

  • Keep the thermostat set at the same temperature. Do not turn it up and down frequently.
  • Change the air filter regularly. A dirty air filter can restrict airflow and cause the heat pump to freeze up. Air filters need to be replaced regularly, year-round, in order to help your unit function properly.
  • Keep the vents in your home clear. Make sure all the vents in your home are open and not blocked by furniture or other objects.
  • Give the outdoor unit proper clearance. The outdoor unit of the heat pump needs to have proper clearance around it.
  • Schedule regular check-ups. Have your favorite HVAC company out twice a year (one for heating and one for cooling) to service the unit.

If your heat pump does freeze, turn off the unit and call a professional.


When your heat pump freezes up in summer, it can be a frustrating and confusing experience. However, with the right knowledge, you can troubleshoot the issue. With the help of your local, experienced HVAC professional, your heat pump will be back up and running in no time.

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When you need superior HVAC services in Camden County, New Jersey, make sure to call McAllister Energy. We have the best professionally certified technicians on staff for all your high-quality heating and cooling maintenance, installations, replacements, and repairs. All our skilled techs have the knowledge and experience to service your HVAC system correctly.

McAllister Energy provides the most competitive HVAC service rates in the locality. We can help improve your comfort, energy efficiency, and indoor air quality while reducing your energy bills with our maintenance services. If you need to replace or repair your HVAC system, we can recommend the most suitable solutions that fit your budget. Your satisfaction is our priority, so all our work is guaranteed. Schedule a service appointment and call McAllister Energy today. We offer free, in-home estimates.

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