Frozen AC Unit? Causes, Fixes, and Prevention Tips

It is a common thing to experience here in the United States, as two-thirds of all homes in the US have HVAC systems. But this is certainly not the reason for having a frozen AC unit at home. It is mainly due to the lack of regular maintenance, apart from faulty and malfunctioning parts that result in such a problem. In peak summers when you notice a frozen air conditioner, call an HVAC technician to fix the issue ASAP.

The moisture in the air, cold refrigeration coils, low refrigerant levels, and clogged condensate drain lines result in ice formation. Instead of cold air inside the house, you feel hot air blowing from the AC vents. When you notice inadequate cooling or hear a hissing noise coming from your air conditioning unit, it’s time to contact an expert in AC repair. Here in Mesquite and Dallas in Texas, there are quite a few HVAC companies that you can hire.

Let’s Understand the Causes of a Frozen Air Conditioner

Some of the common reasons for an AC freezing up are mentioned below. If you are serious about your comfort, and know when to do preventative maintenance, such issues seldom occur. Sadly few people are aware of the causes, which results in a frozen unit. Let’s learn how.

• Dirty Air Filter: Clogged and dirty air filters tend to suffocate your AC unit. It restricts the warm air from passing through the refrigeration coils. This results in ineffective airflow. The coils get too cold and eventually freeze. The best way to get over this problem is to replace your air filter every 2-3 months. You can also carry out a DIY cleaning with a vacuum cleaner.

• Restricted Air Flow: This is perhaps the main cause of an AC unit freezing up, ahead of its first free service tenure. A split AC functions by sucking the warm air into the ductwork and the evaporator coils. But, if the warm is unable to move through the coils, heat transfer cannot happen. Thus the moisture in the air turns the condensate into ice.

This is mainly due to damaged air ducts, leaks in ductwork, dirty filters, clogged gates & dampers, clogged air ducts, etc.

• Leaking Refrigerant: Another major cause of frozen AC or ice in the air conditioning unit is mainly due to leaking refrigerant. A low level of refrigerant is due to a leak in the line. This causes a drop in the pressure, resulting in the freezing of evaporator coils. As the HVAC unit continues to lose refrigerant, the water vapor freezes and ice forms on the surface of the coil. Here, a leakage in the refrigerant line is the main culprit.

You need to immediately call an expert in AC repair in Dallas or wherever you live to inspect this issue. A company like Copeland Home Services can help you with all kinds of HVAC repair services in the Dallas County area.

• Faulty Blower Fan: The main function of the blower fan is to extract the warm air out of the house into the air ducts, thereby injecting cold air inside the room. But when the fan is damaged, it results in insufficient airflow. This causes the evaporator coil to freeze up. A faulty blower fan can severely affect the heating and cooling mechanism. If the AC fan breaks down, it will prevent the air conditioner from working.

How to Unfreeze AC Unit Fast?

When you notice a frozen AC unit, immediately switch off the air conditioner. The cooling would be stopped. Then switch on the blower fan. It speeds up defrosting by blowing warm air onto the evaporator coil. In extreme cases of AC unit freezing, it might take a full day (24 hours) to defrost completely.

What to Do When Your AC Unit Freezes Up?

Step 1: Switch off your HVAC unit, as keeping a frozen air conditioner on, can result in extensive wear & tear of parts. And if the compressor breaks down, it can be a costly affair. When you notice ice on and around the coil, turn off the thermostat. This will begin the defrosting process, melting away the ice on the coil.

Step 2: Upon encountering a frozen AC unit problem, turn on the thermostat fan. It will start blowing warm air on the frozen evaporator coil. Make sure the thermostat is NOT on Auto mode, but set to ON. An Auto Mode causes the fan to start and stop at regular intervals. To fully defrost, there should be a continuous airflow over the frozen coils.

Step 3: You need to properly identify the cause of the problem, and locate the source. This freezing-up issue can stem from various factors like dirty evaporator coils, collapsed ductwork, inefficient blower, clogged valves & condensate lines, etc. You also need to check refrigerant levels with the help of an AC repair technician in the Mesquite-Dallas area.

Step 4: Closely monitor your AC unit after it completely shuts down. Overflowing drain pans and clogged condensate drains are at risk when the defrosting process is on. You can wrap towels around your air conditioner to check for any additional leaks. Call an HVAC technician to rectify the issue in a professional and foolproof manner.

Preventive Measures

By partnering with a specialized AC repair company, you learn how to avoid a situation like a frozen air conditioning unit, especially in peak summer months.

• Regularly Clean & Replace Your Air Filter: Always keep your air filter clean by frequently washing, wiping, and dusting away the dirt, debris, and dust. If the air filter is severely infested with dust and grease, it is best advised to replace it with a new one, every two months.

• Schedule Regular Maintenance: Call your HVAC company or AC installer every 4-5 months for a routine inspection. It can help identify potential problems at the onset, and rectify them as a preventive measure. A certified technician can quickly identify any issue, and ensure 100% efficiency of the unit.

• Ensuring Professional Installation: When you’re installing an air conditioning unit at home, make sure it is flawlessly installed. Be it the insulated ductwork, copper wiring, indoor unit, outdoor unit, refrigerant level, drain pipes, etc. This can minimize potential issues like a frozen HVAC unit.

• Inspect the Vents: Check if something is blocking the vents on either side and remove it from the air passageway. Also check for collapsed air ducts, as they act as a main passageway of an AC unit. A collapsed air duct will block the airflow, leading to a frozen AC coil.

• Ensure Optimal Refrigerant Level: When you call an HVAC technician for regular maintenance, ask him to check the refrigerant level. When there’s less refrigerant, the pressure drops, resulting in frozen AC lines. The technician also needs to make sure the refrigerant does not enter the compressor. This can spell doom. A compressor is made to receive only warm vapor.

When you notice such an issue with your AC unit, it is wise to contact an experienced HVAC company near you that can fix any complicated problem with ease. Whether it is a frozen AC unit or low refrigerant levels or dirty air filters, an expert for AC repair in Mesquite or elsewhere can identify the fault at the source, and offer a credible solution. No more freezing of your air conditioner when it is sweltering hot outside.

By Copeland Home Services June 27, 2024

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