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Heating and Air Conditioning

How To Fix A Frozen Air Conditioner

Although your air conditioner is tasked with producing cool air during those hot summer months, the unit itself should never freeze. If it does, you have a major problem, one that can be very costly to fix if left unaddressed for any length of time.

That’s why it’s so important to keep your air conditioner from suffering such a fate and Arundel Cooling and Heating has you covered with these helpful tips on how to fix a frozen unit and prevent the condition from occurring again in the future.

Symptoms of a Frozen Air Conditioner

The tell-tale signs are not hard to spot when it comes to diagnosing the problem. You will be able to identify a frozen air conditioning unit through a couple of very noticeable symptoms. The first one being obvious through a discernible layer of ice buildup along the coils, pipes, and/or exterior panel of the unit.

If you have icy buildup (or even if you do not), another symptom of a frozen air conditioner is an inability for the air conditioner to cool down the interior temperature to your desired thermostat setting. Some units may normally take longer than others to reach the set temperature but if you discover that your unit isn’t reaching the setting in a timely fashion, you may have a frozen air conditioner.

One way to diagnose the problem is to put your hand over the supply register to feel the air that is being expelled. If it’s not cold or even cool, but warm instead, your unit may need some attention to fix the issue.

It’s Frozen. Now What?

So you’ve diagnosed the problem and discovered one or more of the problems stated above. The good news is you should be able to defrost the unit without professional intervention. At least, you’ll want to take a shot at it yourself before spending the money to have it handled by a specialist.

In order to do that you must first shut the system down completely. This can be done at the breaker box by cutting the power supply to the unit so that the frozen components may begin to thaw out entirely. This process could take as long as a full day until all of the ice melts from the surfaces that have been affected.

This also helps to avoid causing any potential long-term damage to to the unit by way of a burned out compressor due to a frozen coil. When there is ice on the critical parts of the equipment, that can put undue stress on the compressor causing it to work harder and eventually burn out.

DO NOT attempt to break or tear away the ice from any of your components as this could severely damage them. Allow the ice to melt off naturally and, depending on which components have become frozen, you can employ the blower of the unit to help the ice melt from the evaporator coil.

Once the coils are thawed and the resulting water removed, it’s important that you dry the coils thoroughly. Now you can restore power to the system and set the thermostat to operate the blower but do not engage the air conditioning again yet. Running the fan or blower is a good way to move air through the coils and the system altogether.

Preventing the Problem

Dealing with a frozen air conditioner can be a real hassle, not to mention a potentially costly problem to rectify. But if you take some necessary and simple precautionary measures you can preserve the condition of your unit and keep it from freezing.

This begins with ensuring the airflow in your air conditioner’s system remains unimpeded by checking for clogs and other foreign objects that can prevent the air from moving freely throughout. That means checking the vent filters and changing them out every two to three months depending on how often you use the system.

If the filters are dirty that can keep the air from getting through successfully and cause the system to work harder in order to operate. A dirty filter is one of the most common reasons for an air conditioner unit to freeze up. This is also the easiest method for maintaining the system.

You should also give the coils and evaporator a good inspection as well to determine if they too need to be cleaned. This can be easily accomplished using a soft brush which is effective at removing the type of dirt or debris that can have a negative impact on the air conditioner.

If you are looking to keep your home warm, you should also perform these steps prior to running your heating during the winter months.