What to Do If Your Air Conditioner Freezes

May 1, 2012

Your air conditioning is an important part of your home and your comfort as things start heating up in Cincinnati, so when problems start occurring with your AC equipment, it can be a serious issue—and a frozen AC can go from being a minor problem to a major inconvenience fairly quickly. There are three main reasons why an air conditioner may freeze up:

  1. Poor airflow – There are two common causes for poor airflow in your AC—dirty filters and undersized air ducts. Both restrict the airflow from your air conditioner and present the risk of having the temperature in your system drop below freezing, resulting in frozen coils. Generally, you can simply change the air filter and that should help fix the problem. If it doesn’t, you might have a much larger issue on your hands because it’s likely that your air ducts are undersized. You’ll want to have your ducts inspected by one of our HVAC technicians so needing duct maintenance doesn’t turn into needing an air conditioner replacement.
  2. Thermostat temperature – Your air conditioner only has two settings: on and off. It works by having air pass over an evaporator coil that is approximately 40°F cooler than the air in your home, cooling it to 20°F below the air temperature in your house. It continues this process until the temperature reaches the desired level. However, that means that if you were to set your thermostat to 68°F, the evaporator coil could drop to below freezing and become a block of ice.
  3. Refrigerant leaks – The level of refrigerant in your air conditioner needs to be carefully balanced for your system to run smoothly—too much or too little and your AC could freeze or not provide enough cooling to your home.

How to Fix A Frozen Air Conditioner

When fixing your frozen AC, the first thing you should do is turn off your air conditioner and let it begin defrosting so you can avoid serious damage. The next thing you’re going to need to do is identify the source of the problem so you can work toward getting it fixed. Check all the air filters first—if they’re dirty or blocked, clean or replace them entirely. If within 24 hours your compressor is free of ice, then changing the air filters solved your problem.

If it’s common practice in your home to set your thermostat below 70-72°F and you’ve been having issues with your air conditioner freezing, simply turn up the thermostat and give your coils a chance to reach temperatures above freezing again. If you’re worried about getting too warm, invest in a fan or flip on your ceiling fan. The breeze created by a fan can make you feel between 4 and 7 degrees cooler.

When a lack of refrigerant is the root of the problem, your best course of action is to contact an HVAC specialist. We can correct the levels for your system or fix a leak and ensure your AC is operating at peak efficiency. One of our technicians will also be able to identify any other potential problems or causes for your frozen coils.

If your air conditioner is freezing up and you can’t determine the cause, call the experts at Rick’s Heating & Cooling. We can assess your system and determine the best course of action whether it’s maintenance, repairs, or an air conditioner replacement in Cincinnati. We can make sure your AC is running all summer long—contact us today!