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How to Fix a Frozen Air Conditioner

Posted On: July 17, 2012

With summer only half over and already featuring some of the warmest temperatures in history, it is important to ensure your air conditioner is in proper working order to prevent your air conditioner evaporator coils from freezing. Many may find it odd that in such hot weather ice could be forming on their air conditioner, but it is not only possible, but is actually a very common problem – often caused by simple issues that can be diagnosed and repaired on your own with proper guidance. Our how-to guide will help you fix a frozen air conditioner with only a few simple steps!

So What Causes a Frozen Air Conditioner

These are the most common issues that cause an air conditioner to freeze:

Poor Air Flow – The most common cause of frozen air conditioners is too little air flow. Air flow can be limited by a number of factors – most notable dirty air filters and under- or oversized ducts. When your air filters are dirty or your ducts poorly sized, the cold air in your compressor cannot adequately blow into the house causing the evaporator coils to freeze.

Low Refrigerant Levels – Maintaining an adequate level of refrigerant in your air conditioner is vital for proper function. If your unit has too little coolant – or too much – it can cause your air conditioner to freeze.

Low Outdoor Temperature – Running your AC system when the temperature outside is too low can also cause your air conditioner to freeze. In temperatures below 60 degrees frozen compressor coils is common. If the temperature inside your home is warm when the outdoor temperature is below 60 degrees, simply open your window. This will not only save you money, but prevent costly air conditioner malfunctions.

Thermostat Temperature is Set Too Low – The temperature of the refrigerant is approximately 40 degrees colder than the air in your home. Setting the thermostat to less than 40 degrees above freezing can cause your air conditioner to freeze.

Broken Blower Fan – Just as oversized ducts can cause your air conditioner to freeze by not moving cold air into your house quickly enough, a broken blower fan will cause your evaporator coils to freeze for the same reason. The blower fan in your HVAC system is responsible for moving air into your ducts through the house. If the fan is not blowing, the cold air has little movement and will cause your air conditioner to freeze.

How to Fix Your Frozen Air Conditioner

If your air conditioner is frozen, the first step is to identify what has caused it to freeze.

Before starting, turn off your air conditioner and let it start thawing out – you might want to set down some towels to cover the floor. This will prevent the ice buildup from getting worse and protect your unit from more serious damage.

Once you’ve shut off your air conditioner, inspect your air filters to determine if they are dirty. Your filters should be changed every one to three months depending on how often you use your air conditioner because dirty and clogged air filters are one of the main causes of frozen air conditioners – and also the easiest fix! After your air filters have been changed and the evaporator coils have thawed, turn the air conditioner back on.

If ice buildup occurs again, changing your filters did not work and a more complicated issue may be causing your problems. In this instance, you should consult with a professional HVAC contractor. Other likely causes for your frozen air conditioner are refrigerant leak, inadequate ductwork, or a faulty defrost timer. Unless you have the proper tools and training to handle these problems, it is safer for you and your HVAC system to contact the air conditioning specialists at T.E. Spall & Son.

If your air conditioner is freezing and the simple repair tip above does not remedy the problem, contact Northeastern Pennsylvania’s top air conditioner repair company – T.E. Spall & Son! We can provide reliable air conditioner repair in Scranton, Wilkes-Barre, and the surrounding Northeastern Pennsylvania communities. Contact us today.

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