A man checking his frozen air conditioner.

Troubleshooting a Frozen Air Conditioner

During scorching summer months in Arizona, it’s critical for your health and comfort that your air conditioner works optimally. A frozen air conditioner is a serious problem! If your AC displays visible ice, it’s time to act. Following is a guide to understanding, diagnosing, and fixing a frozen air conditioning unit. 

Why Does an Air Conditioner Freeze?

A frozen air conditioner is a common problem. It occurs when ice forms on the evaporator coil, the component that absorbs heat from your home. This occurs when the refrigerant level is too low, the air filter is clogged, the blower fan is faulty, the drain line is clogged, and/or airflow is reduced.

Why is it Important to Repair a Frozen Air Conditioner?

Quickly repairing a frozen air conditioner prevents damage to the unit, saves money, and ensures cool air when you need it most. 

How do I Know if My Air Conditioner is Frozen?

There are some common signs that an air conditioner is frozen.

  • The system is not reaching the desired temperature
  • Air coming from the registers feels warm
  • The electric bill is more than usual.
  • Water is leaking from around the air conditioner
  • The unit is making a bubbling or hissing noise
  • Moisture around the air handler
  • The coils are covered in ice
  • Ice is visible outside/around the unit

How do I Repair a Frozen Air Conditioner?

Following is a step-by-step guide to diagnosing and fixing a frozen air conditioner.

  1. Turn off the unit: To avoid permanent damage and an expensive repair bill, turn off the air conditioner to start defrosting the unit. 
  2. Set the thermostat fan to the on position: This allows warm air to flow over the frozen coils, speeding the defrosting process. 
  3. Determine the source of the difficulty: Check the air filter to determine if it is clogged and restricting airflow. Look for dust, dirt, and debris on the evaporator coils. Search for a refrigerant leak. Determine if you have a weak blower, collapsed duct, or closed valves.
  4. Watch the unit closely as it thaws. Ensure the drain pan does not clog or overflow. 
  5. Turn on the unit when it is completely clear of ice. 
  6. Keep a close eye on the AC for a few hours to determine if there are any continuing problems.

How do I Avoid a Frozen Air Conditioner?

To avoid a frozen air conditioner, have your unit installed by a professional. Replace or clean your filter once a month. Schedule a routine maintenance and/or inspection by a trained technician. 

Having trouble with your AC? Need help thawing a frozen air conditioner? Want help from a professional AC technician? Contact McMillin Air. Our licensed technicians will ensure your system is working efficiently.


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