What To Do If Your Air Conditioner Freezes

Posted on: 23 December 2014

Does your air conditioner have frost forming on its pipes? Is there a full block of ice on the outside of the unit? It can be a little confusing to see ice on an outdoor air conditioning unit. After all, your air conditioner is probably running because it's hot out. Ice shouldn't be able to form in hot weather. However, it can happen on a malfunctioning air conditioning unit and it can signal a big problem. Ice forms when cold air is trapped in the system. Instead of coming out of your home's vents, it just builds up in the unit's coils, leading to ice and possibly a serious breakdown. If you notice ice on your unit, it's important that you take quick action. Here's what you should do.

Thaw the ice. Start by turning off the cold air. You can do that at the thermostat. However, leave the fan on. The fan will pull warm air from your home and push it through the air conditioner. The combination of warm air from the fan and the warm outdoor temperature will help the ice thaw. If the situation is extreme, you can turn on the heat to melt the ice faster.

Check your drain pan. Just as ice on the outside of the unit will melt, so will ice and frost inside the unit. This will cause water to collect inside the system. A little water is okay because it will flow into your drain pan. However, if there's a significant amount of ice, there may be more water than the drain pan can handle. If that happens, water could actually back up into the unit and cause further problems. While the unit is defrosting, check your drain pan often. If it looks like it's getting full, quickly pull it out and pour the contents down a drain.

Change your filter. A dirty filter is a common cause of a frozen air conditioner. When the filter gets too dirty, it doesn't allow air to pass through to your ducts. That means that the cold air gets trapped in your air conditioner. As more cold air builds up, the unit starts to freeze.

Once your unit is defrosted, try changing your filter. Then, turn your air conditioner back on. Let it run for a while and see if it starts to freeze again. If not, you've probably fixed the problem. If the air conditioner continues to freeze, you probably have a more serious problem with your pipes or coils.

In that scenario, you may be best served by calling and experienced air conditioning repair service. They can diagnose the problem and recommend a solution.