What To Do When Your Air Conditioner Unit Freezes Up

image of a dirty air conditioner filter causing a frozen ac unit

Air conditioners provide cooling, but they aren’t supposed to freeze. If they do, then something is wrong with your system. The cooling unit won’t work as expected, and your home will not be as cool and comfortable as you want it to be. Read on to know why this problem happens, what to do when your AC unit freezes up, and how to prevent this air conditioning issue from happening again.

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Why Air Conditioners Freeze Up

Here are a few of the reasons why air conditioners freeze:

1. Dirty HVAC Air Filters

Proper airflow is needed for your air conditioner to work optimally. If there is insufficient air flowing through the evaporator coils, it will end up freezing. Having a consistent air stream passing through the coils helps regulate the temperatures through heat transference to the refrigerant. This substance needs to be at 10 to 20 degrees Fahrenheit at this point. Poor airflow is typically the result of having clogged air filters. The dust accumulation in the filter stops air from getting into your HVAC system.

2. HVAC Airflow Obstructions

image of a closed hvac air vent

If you replace your air filters regularly, but your air conditioner still freezes up, you might have airflow problems coming from other parts of your system. There could be blocked vents and registers in your house. Take a look around and check if furniture or other things are blocking the vents and registers. Remove any obstructions. If the freezing happens often, this air conditioner problem could be caused by poor ductwork installation or design. It could also point to pests infesting your ducts and system. Call an HVAC expert to evaluate the problem and resolve it.

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3. Air Conditioner Refrigerant Leaks

A frozen air conditioner could also be because there is a low refrigerant level. A refrigerant leak could cause this problem. Other signs to look out for are hearing a hissing sound and there is a surge of hot air from your system. Have a professional seal the refrigerant leak immediately. They can also ensure that the coolant level returns to the optimum level. Never attempt a DIY repair because this chemical can be toxic. Let a licensed HVAC contractor to handle this issue as they are equipped with the right tools and training to conduct these repairs safely.

4. Dirty Evaporator Coils

dirt on air conditioner coils

Another possibility is having problematic evaporator coils. They could be dirty as dust and grime can build up over time. This build-up reduces heat transfer between the air and coils. The dirt can also block the condensate lines, trapping water in the process. This water can freeze, and this could also happen to the coils. Your system will strain to work like it should when this happens.

What To Do If Your Air Conditioner Freezes

When you have a frozen air conditioner, here are a few things you can do:

1. Thaw The Air Conditioner

homeowner adjusting thermostat

Turn the air conditioner off at the thermostat when you notice that it has frozen. This prevents it from getting worse, as switching it off will enable the unit to thaw on its own. Homeowners simply need to wait for it to thaw completely. This can take several hours, so it is recommended that you do it before leaving for work. If you need to stay in your house, you can open the windows and turn on fans to keep cool while you wait. Do not use a sharp tool like a screwdriver to remove the ice, as this can make the problem worse.

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2. Dry The Coils

The air conditioner will have wet coils for some time after the ice melts. Turn the power back on and run the blowers so that the coils dry faster. However, don’t switch on the air conditioner yet. The fans should be the only part running so that there is better air circulation, allowing the water to evaporate faster. Check it again after a few hours have passed. Once your air conditioner has dried up inside, it can operate normally.

How To Prevent A Frozen Air Conditioner

Make sure that you do not have to deal with this problem in the future by doing this regularly:

1. Change The Air Conditioner Filters

hvac air filter replacement

HVAC air filters trap airborne contaminants so that they do not get inside your system. They are important components as they keep the unit clean and help improve your indoor air quality. However, they get dirtier the longer they stay on. The dust build-up will eventually cause insufficient airflow and choke the system. Therefore, they need to be replaced with new ones to keep the purification and airflow balance. Inspect your filter at the start of every month and replace them when needed.

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2. Clear HVAC Airflow Obstructions

Air conditioning maintenance includes checking for obstructions that affect the airflow. They will find the culprit and tell you about the situation. Repairs can then be made to improve your air conditioner’s performance. The changes to be made can be as simple as moving furniture around. In some cases, the ductwork needs modification. Leave this task in the expert hands of professionals.

3. Check Coolant Levels

image of an hvac contractor checking ac refrigerant levels

The coolant level should not get below a certain amount. Otherwise, problems could happen. Ensure that your air conditioner receives professional maintenance. Annual air conditioner tune-ups include checking the amount of refrigerant in the system to ensure that the system works within the correct parameters. A licensed HVAC technician can also recharge the system if the refrigerant level is too low. Any leaks will be repaired as well.

4. Clean The Air Conditioner Coils

A thorough cleaning is needed if you have dirty coils. Make sure to inspect the condensate lines as well in case there is a clog. An HVAC technician needs to open the system to eliminate the clog. This way, water can flow freely again. This is included in a professional’s preventive maintenance checklist.

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Homeowners heavily depend on air conditioners to make hot summers bearable. Therefore, you must take care of it so that it will work as expected. Schedule preventative HVAC tune-ups with a reliable HVAC technician. This way, you do not have to deal with frozen coils and other common AC problems.

Call Point Bay Fuel For Your Air Conditioning Requirements


When you need superior HVAC services in Ocean and Monmouth County, New Jersey, do not hesitate to call Point Bay Fuel. We have the best professionally certified HVAC technicians for all your heating and cooling service needs. Some of our heating and air conditioning services include maintenance, repairs, installations, and more. Each of our skilled techs has extensive knowledge and years of experience to work on any HVAC make and model correctly.

Our company guarantees to have highly affordable and competitive HVAC service costs. We offer tune-ups that can help improve your home’s comfort, air quality, and energy efficiency. If you need heating and cooling repairs or replacement, we can give you the best recommendations to meet your needs and budget. All our work comes with a guarantee. Schedule a service appointment and give Point Bay Fuel a call today. We offer free, in-home estimates.

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