If you’ve never had to deal with a frozen air conditioner before, the idea of ice on your AC in the heat of summer can sound like a fake problem made up by HVAC companies. But before you call us liars, the experts at Air Tech of Katy are here to tell you everything you need to know about a frozen AC: what it is, why it happens and –most importantly — how to fix it.
What Is A Frozen AC?
A frozen AC is exactly what it sounds like: ice on your air conditioner that causes it to stop working. Even though Texas summers reach triple-digit heat regularly, frozen air conditioners are mostly a summer issue. If you have a frozen AC, you’ll first notice that your AC is blowing warm air. If you check your indoor AC unit and find ice on the coils, your AC is frozen.
Why Is My AC Frozen?
During normal operation, the refrigerant in your AC coils removes heat from the air around them and releases it outside, cooling the air in your home. This process creates condensation on the coils which then drips down into the condensate drain pan. When dirt and dust accumulate on the coils, it prevents the condensation from dripping off the coils. The gathered moisture then blocks the heat transfer process, making the refrigerant get so cold that it freezes the water and stops the AC from working properly.
Preventing a frozen AC is easy, though. Simply change your air filter every couple of months, once a month if you have shedding pets. This will ensure that no debris gets into your AC system.
How To Fix A Frozen AC
If you find your AC frozen, don’t panic, and don’t worry about repair costs. This is a problem that you can fix easily with a little time. Follow these steps to thaw your AC:
- Turn your thermostat off: Set the thermostat to OFF, then turn the fan to ON. This will stop the cooling process but keep warm air circulating to thaw the coils faster.
- Change your air filter: If your AC is frozen, the filter is likely dirty. Replacing it will help prevent the problem from recurring and help speed the thawing process.
Keep cool while the ice melts: You’ll be without AC for a few hours or more, depending on how much ice there is. We recommend going to the pool, seeing a movie or visiting a friend’s house while you wait.
- Turn the AC on: Once all of the ice is melted and there’s no more water dripping from the coils, turn your thermostat to ON and the fan to AUTO. Your home will be cool again within an hour or so.
Call a Professional
Fixing a frozen AC is relatively easy, but it shouldn’t be a common issue. If your AC keeps freezing, it could indicate a bigger problem, such as a refrigerant leak. This is a serious issue and shouldn’t be ignored.