How To Unfreeze an Air Conditioner in Five Ways
One of the worst things you can ever experience during a hot Texas summer is an air conditioner that ends up out of service. When such situations arise, most people swing into action to check out the problem and see if they can fix it.
However, some air conditioner problems can leave even the savviest DIYers scratching their heads. What do you do with an air conditioner that has frozen over with ice on the AC unit?
As Lubbock’s trusted AC maintenance company, we assure you that knowing how to unfreeze an air conditioner can help you avoid costly HVAC repairs.
We’ll look at how you can get your unit working again in five ways.
1. Turn Off the Air Conditioner
When you suspect a frozen air conditioner, the first step should be shutting the unit down immediately. Forcing the air conditioner to keep working won’t change anything as you won’t get any cool air.
Instead, trying to use an air conditioner with visible ice buildup will only end up damaging components that will cost significant sums to fix.
2. Wait 24 Hours
The ice on the AC unit acts no differently from ice in your refrigerator or cubes of ice in a glass. Once enough time passes, it will melt. A day of waiting usually gives the air conditioner enough time for all the ice to leave your AC unit. However, as anyone in Lubbock, TX, will agree, that’s an awfully long time to go without air conditioning.
The heat and humidity will leave you in urgent need of a solution. We’ve got your back in the remaining steps.
3. Heat Up the Air Conditioner
If you don’t want to wait for nature to act on the ice, you have to learn how to unfreeze an air conditioner using a hair or blow dryer. To safely complete the process, hold the dryer ten inches away from the air conditioner’s evaporator coils and turn on the low heat setting. Hold it for 15 minutes, and all the ice should melt away.
It may sound like a nice idea to hold the dryer closer to the unit and crank up the heat, but you’ll only end up melting the evaporator coils. Also, don’t use a lamp or a propane torch to heat the unit. It will only damage the air conditioner.
4. Set the AC to "Fan Only" Mode and Turn It On
Once the fan kicks in, it will send warm air inside the unit, drying out the air conditioner. Any remaining ice will melt, and the air will also dry out any remaining moisture. Only switch the air conditioner to “cool” when you’re certain it has completely dried out. Otherwise, you’ll have to repeat the process again fairly soon.
5. Find the Cause of the Freezing
After the ice melts, you need to figure out why your unit froze up in the first place. Common causes include:
- Clogged condensate drains. Condensate drains clog when mold grows inside, or the water leaving the air conditioner becomes too dirty. With the drains clogged, water can’t leave the air conditioner. A frozen air conditioner is one of the possible results.
- Dirty coils. The coils in your air conditioner play an integral role in the cooling process. When they get too dirty, a long list of problems can follow, including a frozen air conditioner.
- Clogged air filters. Clogged air filters will keep warm air from reaching the air conditioner, causing a significant drop in the temperature around the coils.
Other common causes include a refrigerant leak, a damaged blower motor, an old compressor, collapsed air ducts, a weak compressor, and electrical problems. You can avoid all these common problems by following a regular maintenance schedule.
Restore Your Air Conditioner to Peak Performance
Depending on the cause of the freezing, you’ll likely need to hire a qualified HVAC technician to fix the problem permanently. That’s where we come in! At On the Double Heating & Cooling, we know how to unfreeze an air conditioner in the shortest time possible.
Most importantly, we can fix the technical issues that led to the problem. Possible causes, such as a refrigerant leak, require the expertise of a qualified and licensed HVAC technician. With your air conditioner in good shape, we’ll discuss a maintenance schedule with you to prevent a recurrence.