If you’re a homeowner asking the question, “Is my AC unit supposed to be frozen,” the quick answer is no! While it’s not uncommon to find ice and frost around the compressor housing, this indicates that it’s time for repairs or replacement. An AC unit should also never “freeze up” as in suddenly stop working before it reaches the temperature set on the thermostat.
To ensure you’re keeping your home’s AC in good repair, check out some quick tips of what to do if your AC stops working or otherwise freezes up, and how to avoid this problem in the first place! It’s also helpful to note a few things to avoid when fixing your air conditioner so you don’t cause even more damage. Remember to call an air conditioner repair contractor as needed, so your home is always cool and comfortable during summer months.
There are several reasons why an air conditioner might stop working suddenly or show ice and frost around the compressor housing. First note a few common reasons and simple suggestions for getting the unit working again:
If your home’s AC unit stops running and you notice ice or frost around the compressor housing, first turn off the unit! As the ice melts slightly the air conditioner might start operating again, but running a unit with any remaining frost or ice can lead to costly damage.
In some cases, it can take all day for that ice to melt, as there might be cold air trapped in the unit. However, never attempt to break or chip the ice with an ice pick, screwdriver, or another tool, as it’s easy to push that tool through the ice and damage the compressor housing.
You can try using a hairdryer to melt the ice more quickly, but be mindful of keeping its cord and extension cords out of water puddles. Once the ice is melted, run the unit with just the blower so it circulates more air, ensuring the entire unit is frost-free.
The short answer is yes, you can pour or spray warm or hot water on an air conditioner without damaging the coils or motor. The biggest risk to trying to remove ice this way is splashing and hurting yourself!
To melt ice as quickly as possible, pour warm water over the frozen areas slowly, giving the water time to wash over the frost. Repeat as needed to remove the ice. You can even use warm water to rinse away debris and dust from the compressor housing, ensuring it’s clean completely.
Dirt and debris in the air conditioning condensate drain line can cause the unit to freeze up, so it’s vital you keep that line clean. First, locate the drain line; this is typically a PVC pipe located near the unit, attached to a wall of the home. The drain line will usually have a plug on the top of that pipe which you can remove.
Pour about 1/4 cup white vinegar into the drain line, return the plug, and wait several hours for the vinegar to clean algae and other debris. If needed, you can also use a wire brush, available at home improvement stores, to brush out any visible debris and “gunk.” Do this every month or as needed to keep that drain line clear.
Depending on how much ice is clinging to your air conditioner and if there is cold air trapped inside the unit, it can take all day for it to melt, as said. In most cases it’s recommended you wait at least a few hours of letting the AC unit sit and thaw before running it again, to ensure there isn’t ice inside the unit.
The short answer is yes, a dirty filter is actually a common cause of an air conditioner freezing up, as well as an AC blowing lukewarm air through the home or otherwise struggling to work. Homeowners often fail to realize that the air conditioner circulates air through the home’s furnace filter; when that filter is overly dirty or clogged, this impedes airflow.
Without uninterrupted airflow, the air conditioner can’t cool the air as it should. In turn, it might circulate warm air through the home, or struggle to work; you might see a sudden spike in utility costs or notice the fan not spinning as it should.
Since airflow also keeps that coil from freezing, the AC might form ice crystals along the compressor housing and then shut down, as said. To avoid this happening, change your furnace filter often, at least once before you start using the AC in summertime and again before you switch on the furnace in winter. Depending on dust levels in your home, your home’s size, and filter type, you might even change it every month!
If the unit doesn’t cycle on after ice and frost melt from the compressor housing, this might indicate a blown motor, broken fan, damaged thermostat or wiring, or damaged condenser drain. As these fixes are typically outside a homeowner’s area of expertise, it’s recommended you call an AC repair contractor to inspect the unit and perform needed fixes.
An air conditioner freezing up repeatedly can also indicate that it’s time to call a repairperson, so he or she can check refrigerant levels and inspect the unit’s drain line. If the unit cycles on but only blows warm or lukewarm air, this can also indicate low refrigerant levels, dirty ductwork, or other needed fixes.
A few simple tasks can ensure your home’s AC doesn’t freeze up and keeps operating efficiently throughout the year. One vital tip homeowners should remember is to change the filter, as said, and even upgrade to high-quality filters that trap and lock as much dust and debris as possible, keeping it out of the AC unit itself.
Keeping the outside condenser unit clean and free of debris also helps avoid a shutdown. Regular maintenance calls with full-service cleaning can also alert you to needed repairs, and ensure the AC and furnace are free of dust and debris. An AC maintenance call also typically includes calibrating the thermostat, so you know it’s always operational.
This information is proudly presented to our readers by 24/7 AC Repair Garland. If you’re still wondering, Is my AC unit supposed to be frozen, or have any other questions about your residential or commercial HVAC system, don’t hesitate to contact us! We specialize in AC repair in Garland and carry a full catalog of the latest HVAC systems for home and office, and fully guarantee all our AC repair and installation work.