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How Do You Unfreeze an Air Conditioner?

In this article, we provide tips for unfreezing your air conditioner and for keeping it running at optimal efficiency. 

It’s often assumed that air conditioners run best when they maintain cooler temperatures. But this isn’t actually the case. When the temperature around or inside your air conditioner drops too low, it starts to cause maintenance issues. 

For instance, cold air can cause the evaporator coil to freeze. As a result, your air conditioner may struggle to run or stop working altogether.

Irving residents rely heavily on their air conditioners given the hot summers. And faced with some AC maintenance concerns, it’s often best to seek the help of a professional HVAC technician to prevent them altogether by scheduling regular ac maintenance

But there are some maintenance issues that you can troubleshoot yourself. 

Let’s start with some simple steps you can follow on your own at home if you suspect that your air conditioner may be frozen. 

Note: Both indoor and outdoor units are susceptible to harmful freezing.  

When Ice Forms in an AC Unit   

So, how do you know the interior of your ac unit is too cold? 

One warning sign is that it starts blowing warm air when it should be cooling your home. 

Another warning sign is ice starting to form on the outside of your air conditioner.  

If the AC unit is blowing hot air, first try turning off your air conditioner but leaving the fan on so it can defrost the AC unit. The AC’s indoor fan will blow warm air over your AC’s frozen coils, helping the ice thaw faster. 

Also check for a dirty air filter, which could be causing air flow blockage.

It’s not a good idea to leave your fan on all the time. If you do, it will need repairs sooner. Setting the fan to ‘auto’ means it should only turn on during cooling cycles. This will be more energy-efficient, but only if your thermostat is working correctly.

If you do detect ice, it’s often best to give your air conditioner a break. Otherwise, you could run the risk of damaging the compressor. Turn the ac unit off and thaw out the interior before putting it on full blast again. 

Bad AC compressors are expensive to fix. They’re nearly as costly as buying a new air conditioning system altogether, so this is something to watch out for.  

However, if it’s already too late or you’re not quite sure what the issue is, a professional tech will be able to figure out why the ice is forming. If it has damaged some part of your cooling system, one of our technicians will find a solution.   

Reach out to us for air conditioner repair in Carrollton and the surrounding Irving area at 469-200-3100. We’d be glad to help! 

Air Filters and Ice in AC Units

Your filter keeps clean air moving smoothly through your HVAC system. Dirty air filters weaken airflow and can contribute to the formation of ice in your ac unit. 

In cases of particularly poor airflow, ice may begin to form on the actual filter itself. Your supply vents must stay open for proper airflow. 

As part of your troubleshooting process, check the air filters to make sure they are clean and that they’re releasing cold air. Layers of dirt force the fan to work harder than necessary. This leads to lower energy efficiency, higher utility bills, and unregulated temperatures in your ac unit.

Clogged air filters may also be a sign that the condenser coil is dirty, both of which will worsen indoor air quality. We typically recommend checking your air filter at least once a month, and replacing them at most every 3 months. 

Additionally, choose the right MERV rating so you will have the correct amount of airflow. All things equal, aim for a 5 rating. 

If this doesn’t fix the problem, it’s best to get the professional opinion of an HVAC technician who will find solutions to help prevent further damage to other expensive ac components. Our goal at Diamond Blue is to first pursue a repair, but sometimes a replacement makes better financial sense.   

Evaporator Coil and Ice in AC Units

The ac coil is one of the most important parts of your air conditioner’s cooling system. It captures heat in your home and transfers heat outside, using a refrigerant to aid in the process.

A frozen evaporator coil will prevent your air conditioning unit from running properly.

The coil can freeze over if it’s too dirty, rendering it unable to transfer heat. Again, having dirty air filters also contributes to your air conditioner freezing, which counterintuitively prevents it from producing cool air

Homeowners should clean a dirty evaporator coil after thawing a frozen ac unit.  

AC units vary, but most models allow homeowners to take a look at their coils fairly easily by opening up the front panel. 

If your AC unit is underperforming or stops blowing out cool air, take a look at your evaporator coil to see if you have a frozen unit.

If your ac coils are frozen, it’s best to turn off the machine and let them thaw out before turning on the ac again.

Air Conditioner Leaks and Ice in AC Units   

One of the easiest troubleshooting tasks is to check your ac unit for leaks. 

Simply look under the unit to see if there are any puddles or signs of water damage indoors. 

If any significant amount of water has gathered in the AC’s water collector, this could be a sign that an interior part has frozen and needs maintenance or replacement.

Condensation gathers naturally inside ac units as the evaporator accumulates warmth and moisture from the interior of your home. If your ac unit is leaking, a common reason is that there’s an issue with the unit’s condensate drain. Hopefully, you simply have a clog or crack in the output drain that can be fixed cheaply and easily. 

However, if after a brief inspection, you see that the leak is coming from the melting of ice inside the system, it’s best to turn the ac unit off. This is a sign that there may be more serious damage.

AC Unit Defrosting: How to Do it

At this point, you’ve probably discovered whether one or more parts of your ac unit are frozen. If so, the next step is defrosting.

Defrosting your air conditioner is a simple process and may resolve the issue. Be patient and wait to turn it back on until all the ice has thawed. 

  • First, turn your air conditioner off at the thermostat.
  • Then, change the fan setting from ‘auto’ to ‘on.’ 
  • The fan will slowly defrost the system. 
  • Once your air conditioner is ice-free, you can turn it back on and reset the fan to auto (This may take an hour or more).  

As we mentioned before, checking and changing your air filter regularly will help you avoid this problem. A flat air filter should be changed monthly to maintain good air flow, while pleated filters last up to three months. 

If you’re seeing leaking water as a result of turning off your ac unit to thaw out a frozen air conditioner, be sure to keep track of running water to avoid any damage to the interior of your home. This will also prevent any leftover water droplets left in the unit from freezing later. 

Be sure to thaw your AC unit before a technician arrives so the tech can conduct a thorough diagnostic to determine issues with your system.

Refrigerant Issues and Ice in AC Units 

There are multiple signs that your ac unit could have a refrigerant leak. These include long cooling cycles, higher utility bills, ice on the evaporator coil, a hissing sound, and poor cooling in general. 

Some homeowners may also be able to detect an odd odor emanating from the ac unit, which could signify a freon (if older unit) or leak in the refrigerant line. 

Refrigerant leaks are typically more serious and require the help of an ac system repair professional, even if it’s just a case of low refrigerant.  

You may want to reach out for help ASAP, not only for repairs but for safety reasons related to the cold refrigerant in a frozen ac unit, due to the risk of exposure to potentially toxic chemicals if you have an older ac unit.

AC Troubleshooting Summary / Checklist

  • Check for clogged condensate drains. Leaking water means you may have a drainage issue. Double-checking your pipes could help you rule out this much more basic and easy-to-fix problem. 
  • Check for Dirty Vents. This is another easily fixable issue, and may not be a sign of serious maintenance problems.  Also, remember to check for any dirty vent grills near doors, windows, and other openings that haven’t been blocked.
  • Check for a faulty thermostat. If the thermostat isn’t functioning correctly, it may cause another ac problem. The fan will be overworked preventing proper airflow.

When an ac unit freezes after being thawed multiple times, it likely has serious problems that a technician should address.  The AC unit needs to thaw before the technician can perform the diagnostic.

Or, in other cases, it simply may be time for a replacement.   

Trust Diamond Blue for your Air Conditioning Repair Needs

By enrolling in our Diamond 360 Protection Plan, you’ll never forget about maintenance for your cooling and heating systems again.

Diamond Blue offers affordable and hassle-free air conditioner installation across the DFW metroplex, and most neighboring suburbs. Our cooling experts will help you find the right solution for your air conditioner unit, your needs, and your home.

Whatever you need, Diamond Blue offers outstanding air conditioning service and support. Our services are backed by a 100% satisfaction guarantee.* Call us at 469-200-3100 to schedule an appointment today!

*Our 100% Guarantee means that if you are not satisfied with the installation or repair service provided, for a period of one (1) year following the initial date of the installation or repair service in question, we will come back at our own expense until it is completed to your satisfaction. This guarantee does not apply to any defects arising from use of the system or product for a purpose other than its intended purpose, misuse, alteration, accident, abuse or failure to maintain the product serviced or installed.

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