Why Does My Payne Heat Pump Keep Freezing Up?

If your Payne heat pump keeps freezing up, you may be wondering about the cause of this problem and how to fix it. Luckily, we have done the legwork for you, and here is what we found.

The following are possible reasons why your Payne heat pump keeps freezing up: 

  • Poor airflow
  • Low refrigerant
  • Dirty evaporator coil
  • Defective blower motor
  • Moisture
  • Settling

Dealing with this issue is easy and does not require the help of a professional. Keep reading to get detailed information on how to tackle the problem of a freezing heat pump.

Why Does My Payne Heat Pump Keep Freezing Up?

Let's discuss the issues that can cause the Payne heat pump to freeze up.

A payne heat pump near the wall of a building, Why Does My Payne Heat Pump Keep Freezing Up?

Poor Air Flow

When it comes to a heat pump's ability to heat or cool the air in your home, airflow is one of the most crucial factors to consider. Not only does it circulate the warm air within your home, but it is also a catalyst that extracts heat from the air outside your home.

When this circulation gets constricted, it does not let enough air pass over the outer evaporator coils of a heat pump. It results in insufficient cooling. Due to this, the coils can reach an abnormally low temperature, which increases the likelihood of the heat pump freezing.

The buildup of debris, such as leaves and branch trimmings around your heat pump and clogged air filter, can lead to poor airflow.

Low Refrigerant

Air conditioner repair

Refrigerants are designed to last for a very long and still maintain quantity. As a result, your heat pump may leak if it has a low refrigerant level. 

Low refrigerant levels in your system cause the pressure to drop, which makes the coil cold. It's the most common cause of freezing and is often the result of a weak solder joint, a faulty valve, or loose fittings.

Dirty Evaporator Coil

Dirty evaporator coil

The evaporator coil is where the refrigerant flows. It brings heat into your house when the temperature outside is lower and removes heat when the outside temperatures are higher.

When the coil becomes unclean, it cannot transfer heat as effectively as it should. A freeze-up could occur if the airflow is obstructed in any way.

Defective Blower Motor

If the blower motor in your system is defective and not operating at total capacity, it can damage the system and cause it to freeze. The fan might run at a decreased spinning cycle, start and stop periodically, or not run. 

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The accumulation of water and any additional moisture that finds its way into the area of your heat pump could cause problems. You might find a water buildup at the base of your heat pump. Conditions that allow excess water will dramatically increase the likelihood of your heat pump freezing.


The slab underneath your heat pump could sink with time. It might expose the exterior of your heat pump to standing groundwater or tip it into an area with excess water. 

What To Do If My Payne Heat Pump Keeps Freezing Up?

HVAC Air Conditioning Unit on concrete slap with new construction brick house

The most effective approaches to tackling a freezing Payne heat pump are:

Clean The Surroundings

The external heat pump unit might become suffocated by debris such as snow, mud, plants, and leaves. It stops heat from transferring to the outdoor evaporator coil.

It's helpful to look around and see if anything is blocking the heat pump from getting fresh air. Eliminate any clutter from the area surrounding the outdoor heat pump.

Another thing to watch out for is water pooling from leaky gutters on your outdoor heat pump unit. Water can ruin the heat pump if it is allowed to pool due to faulty or loose gutters. Always ensure your outside unit is safe from any of these factors.

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Turn Off The Heat Pump

Turning off the heat pump is the most effective way to defrost a heat pump that has frozen over. If everything is fine after checking the surroundings, the next thing to do is shut down the unit. You can do this on the thermostat.

Turn On The Fan

The next step is to adjust the thermostat, so the fan setting is active. It is possible that turning on the fan for a while will not resolve all of the problems and freezing issues. But it is a temporary solution you can try because not all systems have a fan setting.

Call An HVAC Professional

If turning on the fan does not result in the ice melting, you should switch off both the heat pump and the fan. Immediately, contact a qualified HVAC technician or a service center; they should know what to do.

Can You Pour Hot Water On A Frozen Payne Heat Pump?

Fresh snow on top of a heat pump

Yes, you could. To defrost a Payne heat pump, you can pour hot or warm water. You can use hose-drawn water in areas that do not experience extreme cold.

Pouring hot water over the frozen component is a simple method for defrosting your heat pump. However, the water does not have to be exceedingly hot.

Warm or running water would do. Make sure that you wipe up all the water that has spilled about the unit and pay attention to the electrical part of your unit.

How Long Does It Take For Payne Heat Pump To Unfreeze?

The defrost cycle of a properly functioning heat pump should be set to run at periodic intervals. Each cycle can last anywhere from 30 seconds to several minutes.

The standard defrost cycle of a heat pump often last between five and 15 minutes before it switches back to the heating mode. The defrost cycle helps remove frost and ice buildup from the outdoor unit. The process is essential in preventing the system from freezing solid.

If, on the other hand, your heat pump does not appear to be working, give it three to four hours to defrost on its own. This always solves the problem. The heating system will start up again and continue to heat your home without any drop in temperature.

The heat pump should defrost once every 35 minutes. In frost conditions, heat pumps defrost regularly.

What Happens If A Payne Heat Pump Does Not Defrost?

If your Payne heat pump cannot defrost adequately or quickly enough, it could cause the unit to break down or get damaged.

When coils are entirely covered in ice, they cannot correctly draw cool air from the house. It also results in a noticeable reduction in the system's capacity to generate heat.

In addition, the unit's efficiency suffers if the heat exchanger is not defrosted. There is a possibility that the ice will damage the unit.

When the interior fan stops spinning, the device stops heating, and the indicator light might begin to flicker. The light lets you know the unit is operating in defrost mode. When in defrost mode, the external fan ceases to work, but the compressor carries on as usual.

To Wrap Up

Freezing compressor of an air conditioning system

The Payne heat pump could start freezing up due to poor airflow, low refrigerant, dirty evaporator coil, bad blower motor, moisture, and settling. To deal with this issue, you must clean the surrounding of your heat pump or turn it off. You can consult a professional if you cannot solve the problem alone.

Here are similar articles you may like:

Why Isn't My Payne Heat Pump Defrosting?

My Payne Heat Pump Fan Is Not Working - Why? What To Do?

Payne Heat Pump Filter Location - How To Find Yours?

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