It’s normal for frost to gather on your heat pump in winter weather. However, an excessive amount of ice can damage your heat pump system and cause it to freeze and stop working. The last thing you want in the Montana winter is to lose heat and be uncomfortable in your home. You can take steps now to get your heat pump winter-ready so you do not need to go without heat or call for an emergency heat pump repair. To prepare your home for the cold, we’ve laid out the warning signs of a frozen heat pump and the top tips for how to prevent a frozen heat pump in winter weather.

How Does a Heat Pump Work in Winter?

Heat pumps pull warm air from the outside and use it to heat your home in the winter. Even if it’s below zero, heat pumps can pull heat from the outside air. Heat pumps use a smaller amount of electricity to operate, which makes them less expensive to run than a gas furnace. Typically, heat pumps are partnered with a natural gas furnace option so that the furnace can kick on when the temperature drops below a heat pump’s threshold.

Heat pumps will often switch into defrost mode when the weather gets icier. The defrost mode helps keep ice from forming on the outdoor components of the system and heat the coils back up to the correct temperature. However, if the defrost system cycles on too often or fails to turn on at all, this can be a sign that the heat pump is frozen and faulty.

Warning Signs of a Frozen Heat Pump

There are several warning signs that your heat pump has frozen and needs a technician’s help to repair it. Warning signs of a frozen heat pump may include the following:

  • The heat pump has been frozen over for a long period of time.
  • The defrost cycle is not working or activating.
  • Air is not entering the unit’s fins.
  • The inner coil is completely covered in ice.

If your heat pump is frozen, it will take the experience and knowledge of an HVAC technician to fix the unit. At Mountain Heating and Cooling today, we know how to expertly repair and replace heat pumps, and we take extreme care in doing so. We value you and your family’s comfort, so we want to get your heat pump unit back to normal ASAP. Reach out to us today to schedule an appointment.

Tips for How to Prevent a Frozen Heat Pump in Winter

If your heat pump keeps freezing up in winter weather, taking preventative measures now can help save you time, money, and discomfort later. Below, we’ve listed the top ways for how to prevent a frozen heat pump in winter weather.

Clean & Change Your Filter

Air filters can become dirty and blocked over time, which can cause your heat pump to freeze in the winter. Regularly clean and change your air filter to make sure unhindered air is flowing through your heat pump.

Remove any Blockages

Having proper airflow to your heat pump is crucial to keep the fans and coils running optimally. To prevent blockages, clear away any leaves, debris, or snowdrifts that could be blocking your heat pump. If the coils on the heat pump are dirty, cleaning them can help prevent them from freezing.

Clear Away Ice Buildup

Freezing rain and icy weather can cause the top of your unit to freeze. If you notice ice buildup on your heat pump, clear it away immediately. You can remove ice buildup with water from a garden hose, but don’t use other methods to melt the ice, as it could damage your heat pump unit.

Keep an Eye on the Weather

Checking on your local weather forecast for snow and icy weather can help you know whether you may need to clear ice or snow off of your heat pump. If you get thick snowfall or an ice storm, make sure to take time to remove any blockages from your heat pump unit when it is safe to do so.

Schedule Regular Maintenance

Sometimes thermostats malfunction and can cause your heat pump to stop working, as well. Scheduling a regular maintenance check with an HVAC technician can help prevent malfunctions and resolve any issues that could cause your heat pump to break down in the future.

Frozen Heat Pump? Give us a Call Today!

Going without heat in your home is extremely uncomfortable, so call a professional HVAC technician to repair and maintain your heat pump today. At Mountain Heating and Cooling, we have 40 years of experience under our belt, so we’ve repaired many frozen heat pumps in winter weather during our years of service. We put your comfort first with our services and treat your home like it is our own. We make sure to take the time to repair and check over your heat pump properly so we can recommend the best solutions for your home. If you need help with maintaining or repairing your home’s heat pump, call us today at (406) 586-4007.