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AC Troubleshooting: How to Fix a Frozen Air Conditioner

If you are you dealing with a frozen air conditioner, there are a few preliminary steps that you should take. While you may need contact an HVAC specialist for AC maintenance or an air conditioner repair, you should first take time to perform the following at-home checks:

  • Shut off the system and the thermostat
  • Allow time for the ice to melt
  • Replace the air filter if dirty
  • Note evidence of grime on the coils that needs to be cleaned off

Once the ice is gone, give your system another try and keep an eye out for more ice developing. It may not happen immediately, so check back a few times. Also, take time to check the airflow and temperature at your vents. You don’t need to measure with a thermometer, just evaluate whether you are getting cold air or just slightly cool air. If you have little air pressure or if the air isn’t very cold, there is probably a larger issue in your system that needs to be corrected. Similarly, if you notice more ice on your coils, you need to have the problem diagnosed. A frozen coil can lead to a damaged compressor, one of the most expensive components of your system.

Causes of Frozen Coils

Many homeowners wonder, “What causes and air conditioner to freeze up?” There are a few possibilities:

  • Restricted air movement
  • Dirt buildup on the coils
  • Damaged coils
  • Low refrigerant charge
  • Restriction or leak in refrigerant lines
  • Problems with electronic components

One of the most common issues is dirty coils. Coil cleaning can improve the energy efficiency of your AC by up to 20 percent. Neglecting your coils is one way to cause the restriction of your airstream. When the air doesn’t move properly, the refrigerant isn’t able to exchange much heat. Normally, the coils allow refrigerant to expand, making it cold. The cold is exchanged for heat, and the result is that cold air is carried away and the refrigerant warms up. If the refrigerant doesn’t absorb that heat, it will cause the freezing of the condensate moisture in the area.

Any restriction of airflow can lead to this same process. Your dirty filter can cause problems. A broken blower can also lead to trouble. A blockage in your ducts might be responsible. An electronic failure could even interfere with the air moving properly. A lack of refrigerant or improper flow of refrigerant through its lines can also prompt this issue. Annual AC maintenance can head off most of these issues.

Additional Benefits of AC Maintenance

Scheduling pre-season service will allow you to have coils cleaned, drain pans and lines cleaned and checked for blockages, moving parts inspected, thermostat tested and additional checks made. Each point is used to optimize your system so that you can obtain the best possible comfort levels in your home while keeping your energy usage in check.

If your AC freezes again, you can contact us at Climate Master Mechanical Contractors for a maintenance visit. We are also available for emergency repairs if your system won’t operate. Call our team in Mokena, IL, for an appointment.

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