Heat Pump: How to Defrost It During Winter

Heat Pump Defrost
Tue, 12/14/2021 - 1:42pm 

Heat Pump: How to Defrost It During Winter

A heat pump that freezes up will keep your home from being warm, and it can damage your heating system. Learning how to defrost your heat pump during the winter is imperative to ensure that you have heat.

What Causes A Heat Pump To Ice Up?

Water vapor is what causes your heat pump to ice up. Even a small amount of cold, dry air will still have water vapor in it. The refrigerant in your heat pump will run to 20 degrees colder than the air that is outside. When the weather is just right with temperatures between twenty and forty degrees and humidity above 70, this makes frost form on the condenser coils.

To help prevent the frost, your heat pump will go into a defrost cycle. During this cycle, the heat from inside your home will be sent back to the outdoor unit. This will melt any ice that is on the condenser coils.

However, in some cases, it is simply not enough to prevent some ice formations. In some cases, it is just that cold and cannot be helped, and in other cases, there may be something wrong with your defrost cycle. Either way, you will have to learn how to thaw your heat pump manually.

Defrosting Your Heat Pump

If you look at your outdoor unit and notice ice accumulation, follow these steps:

  • Turn the heat pump off: you will want to go to your circuit breaker and turn the pump off. There is a big risk of electrical shock when dealing with these units.
  • Get your garden hose: grab your garden hose once the power is off and spray the heat pump with water until all the ice melts. Never chip or hammer away the ice as you could damage your unit.
  • Fan mode: if it is a warmer day, you can turn the pump back on and run it in the fan mode. This will help to melt the ice.

Finding The Cause For Freezing

After you have defrosted your heat pump, you will want to try and figure out what caused it to freeze over. In some cases, it may be a problem with your gutters. When you have bad gutters, it can cause water to leak into the unit. Repair your gutters right away and see if this corrects the problem.

In some cases, there may be an issue with the defrost cycle on your unit. There may be an issue with your thermostat, wiring, or your outdoor unit may be dirty. To figure out what is wrong with your unit, especially if it keeps freezing up, you will want to call a reliable HVAC technician to figure out the problem.

Call Us Today


If you have issues with your heat pump freezing up, contact us at Command Service Center as soon as possible. The longer that your unit keeps freezing up, the more damage it may cause. You may eventually lose all of your heat and be in the cold. At Command Service Center, we offer competitive rates, well-trained technicians, and excellent customer service.


Need to request a service appointment? Contact Command Service Center at (847) 558-7780 or use our online form to get started today!