Having your air conditioning suddenly quit working in the middle of summer can be frustrating. If you notice that your AC system is starting to blow warm air, there is a good chance that the evaporator coil, condenser coil, or both have frozen up. This issue is much more common than you might think, and it can potentially ruin the AC compressor. For this reason, it is important that you know exactly what to do should you find yourself dealing with a frozen air conditioner.
How to Deal With a Frozen AC
If you notice hot air blowing out of your vents when your AC is on, the first thing to do is check if there is ice on either the evaporator coil inside the building or the condenser coil in the AC compressor unit outside. If the system is frozen, you should immediately shut off the power to the unit at your main breaker panel. If you attempt to continue running the system when it is frozen, it could cause the compressor motor to overheat and burn out. Should this happen, your only option will be to replace the AC compressor as a burnt-out motor cannot be repaired.
After turning off the power to the system, you will then need to wait for everything to fully thaw out. Depending on temperature and how much ice has built up, this could take a few hours or potentially as long as a day. Once the unit has completely thawed, you should then make sure to fully dry the coils. You can then turn the power back on to the system. However, you shouldn’t set the system to cool just yet. Instead, turn the thermostat to fan only and let the fan run for 30 minutes or so to ensure everything is completely dry. Once you finally turn it back to cooling mode, make sure to check everything regularly to make sure it isn’t starting to ice up again.
What Causes an AC to Freeze Up?
There are a number of different issues that can cause an air conditioner to freeze up. Many times, the issue is something as seemingly minor as a clogged air filter that restricts the airflow coming into the system. If there isn’t a sufficient volume of warm air flowing over the evaporator coils, the refrigerant inside the system can get too cold and any condensation on the coil will start to freeze. This same airflow issue can also occur if your supply or return air vents are clogged or obstructed, the blower fan isn’t working properly, or you have leaks or other ductwork issues.
The system can also freeze up if the sides of the compressor unit become clogged with debris or if the compressor fan isn’t working properly. It could also be that the system does not have enough refrigerant due to a leak in one of the coils or the refrigerant line. In this case, you will need to have a technician find and repair the leak and then add more refrigerant to the system.
Dirty evaporator coils are another common cause of AC freeze-ups. If there is a lot of dust on the evaporator coils, it can act as insulation that causes the refrigerant to get too cold and the coil to freeze. Fixing this issue is as simple as gently wiping down the coils with a wet rag to clean off any dirt and dust.
If your air conditioner is frozen, the first thing you should do after it thaws out is to check that the air filter doesn’t need to be replaced and that the evaporator coil isn’t dirty. If the system freezes up again quickly after you’ve turned it back on, you will likely need to have an AC technician inspect your system to determine what is causing it to freeze and correct whatever the issue is.
Professional Cooling Services and Support
If you’re experiencing any issues with a frozen air conditioner, the NATE-certified cooling and heating technicians at Home Comfort Services are available 24/7 to repair whatever issue you’re facing. We work on all makes, models, and types of air conditioners and heating equipment, and our team has the knowledge and experience to fix most any cooling issue. If the issue cannot be fixed, we can also help you replace your broken AC with a new AC unit. We also specialize in heating tune ups and cooling maintenance, which is the easiest way to prevent your HVAC system from experiencing any issues in the first place. Whatever type of cooling or heating service you need, give Home Comfort Services a call today to see what makes us the best HVAC company in the Grand Junction area.