Apr 25

What To Do When Your AC Unit Freezes Up

air conditioner filter causing frozen ac unit

Air conditioners were built to cool our homes and offices, but they shouldn’t freeze in the process. If they do, it can translate to a problem that’s upsetting your system’s balance. The air conditioning system won’t function as it should when this happens. Therefore, with this type of air conditioner problem, your home won’t be the cool temperature you prefer. Read on to learn more about why this problem occurs, what to do when your AC unit freezes up, and how to prevent it from occurring again.

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Why Air Conditioners Freeze Up

Here are the four most common reasons your air conditioner freezes:

Dirty HVAC Air Filters

An air conditioner needs good airflow to ensure optimum functionality. The evaporator coils will freeze if they aren’t getting enough airflow. A steady airflow helps the coil regulate the temperature by transferring the heat to the refrigerant. This is vital as this liquid coolant has a temperature of 10 to 20 degrees Fahrenheit at this point. Dirty air filters could be the reason behind the poor airflow. Dust and debris buildup can limit the amount of air circulating into the system.

HVAC Airflow Obstructions

Man Looking in an Air Vent

If you regularly replace the system’s air filters, but the air conditioner still freezes, your system might be experiencing airflow issues in other places. The vents and registers around your home might be blocked. Walk around your house to see if furniture, plants, or other objects are blocking them. Move these blockages accordingly. Frequent freezing might be caused by poor design and installation of the ductwork. Pests might also be infesting the ducts. Contact HVAC professionals to check, diagnose, and fix the problem.

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Air Conditioner Refrigerant Leaks

image of air conditioner refrigerant

Low coolant levels can be the culprit behind a frozen air conditioner. This can be caused by a refrigerant leak. Some symptoms of this issue are hearing a hissing sound and hot air surges from the air conditioner. The leaks must be sealed immediately. New refrigerant is needed to ensure the air conditioner goes back to an optimum level. Homeowners should never conduct a DIY as the chemicals can be hazardous. Leave it in the expert hands of a professional HVAC contractor. They are equipped with the right tools and extensive training to ensure these tasks are done safely.

Dirty Evaporator Coils

dirt on air conditioner coils

The evaporator coils could also be problematic. As time passes, dust and grime could have accumulated, making the coils dirty. This issue can reduce the heat transference between the air and coils. The dirt can clog the condensate lines as well, trapping water that can eventually freeze. This can also happen to the coils. Under these conditions, the system will operate harder than it should, wasting energy in the process.

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What To Do If Your Air Conditioner Freezes

Here are two steps to take when your air conditioner freezes:

Thaw The Air Conditioner

Turn the unit off as soon as you notice that your air conditioner is frozen. This way, the problem doesn’t get worse. The ice will thaw on its own without power. All the homeowner has to do is wait for it to fully thaw, which can take up to several hours. It is best to do this before leaving the house for the day. Ensure that you turn on fans and open windows as alternative cooling if you have pets in your home. Do not use a sharp tool, like a knife, to break the ice as it can cause damage and other problems.

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Dry The Coils

The coils will be wet for some time after the ice has melted. Bring the power back on the unit and run the blowers. This will assist in drying it faster. However, don’t switch the air conditioning system on yet. The fans should be the only ones running. It will help better distribute the air so the water can evaporate faster. Check on it after several hours. You can use the air conditioner again after the interior has completely dried.


How To Prevent A Frozen Air Conditioner

Take good care of your air conditioner, so you don’t have to deal with this headache in the future. Conduct the following regularly to do so:

Replace The Air Conditioner Filters

Person replacing the HVAC air filter

The air filters stop unwanted airborne particles from getting into the system. They are essential in ensuring the unit is kept clean while improving the indoor air quality. However, they can’t stay forever. The dust buildup on its surface will eventually cause the system to choke. They need to be replaced with new ones after a certain point. This way, the balance between airflow and purification is maintained. Conduct a monthly filter check and replace the filter when needed.

Check Coolant Levels

The coolant amount in your system should not go below a certain level. Many problems will occur if it does. Ensure that you contact your local, trusted technician for regular air conditioner maintenance. This way, they can check the refrigerant levels to ensure the air conditioner system is running within parameters. If it dips too low, the tech can recharge the system. They can also repair any refrigerant leaks for you.

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Clear Obstructions

Maintenance technicians for your air conditioner will check for obstructions that could be affecting the airflow. They will determine these and tell you about the situation. They will make adjustments to fix the issue and improve your air conditioner’s performance. The solution could be as simple as moving furniture. However, some cases entail modifying the ductwork. Leave this task in the expert hands of a professional.

Clean The Air Conditioner Coils

If dirty coils are causing your air conditioner to freeze, they need to be thoroughly cleaned. There could be a clog in the condensate lines, so pay careful attention. HVAC technicians can open the unit and eliminate any clogs so water can flow without issue. This is also included in the preventive maintenance checklist.



Air conditioners keep us comfortable during the hot summer days. Take good care of it so it can take care of your family. Book preventative maintenance from a reliable HVAC contractor to prevent frozen coils and other common issues with your air conditioner.

Call Skylands Energy Service For Your Air Conditioning Requirements

image of skylands energy service logoSkylands Energy Service provides outstanding HVAC services throughout Central New Jersey. Our team is made up of professionally certified technicians who can conduct top-notch heating and cooling repairs, maintenance, installations, replacements, and more. All our friendly techs have the skills, knowledge, and experience to service your HVAC system correctly.

Rest assured, we offer the most competitive heating and cooling service prices in the area. Our tune-up services can improve your home’s indoor air quality, comfort, and energy efficiency while reducing your energy costs. When you need to repair or replace your HVAC system, we can recommend the most suitable solution for your home and budget. Your satisfaction is our priority, so all our work is guaranteed. To schedule a service appointment, call Skylands Energy Service today. We offer free, in-home estimates.

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