When you experience a frozen AC unit, fixing the issue can feel overwhelming and stressful. The last thing you want to deal with as a homeowner is a frozen AC unit, especially in summer. The professionals at Total Home Environmental in Torrance understand this issue. We work on many homes in the area and have a few tips on how to unfreeze your air conditioner.
How Can You Tell If Your AC Is Frozen?
If your AC unit stops working, there are many possibilities. You first want to check if your AC is frozen during the summer months. Check your outdoor unit and inspect it for any visible ice. If you don’t see any ice, place your hand in front of your indoor vents to check for cool airflow.
Warm airflow means you may ice somewhere in your unit. If you see ice, this is a sign that you need to thaw your unit. A frozen coil or a frozen compressor can cause this issue. We will talk more about this in a minute.
What Causes A Frozen AC Unit?
Although a frozen air conditioner may sound strange, it’s more common than most homeowners realize. Air conditioners work via a central air system in the home. Transferring heat from the home sucks air through the return AC unit with the help of a fan motor.
During the heat transfer process, the air passes over coils where a refrigerant liquid cools the air. If something interferes with the heat transfer, the AC unit can freeze. Here are a few things that cause this problem.
Refrigerant is an essential liquid chemical that air conditioner units need for cooling. Refrigerant cools the air as it expands and vaporizes during AC cycles. The refrigerant line delivers this chemical to cool the intake of air and keep your home cool.
If there is the smallest crack in the link, the refrigerant can leak out and cause the unit to freeze. This is a smaller issue, and a simple repair can fix it. You may need a refrigerant line replacement if you have an older unit.
Dirt On the Coils
Many homeowners aren’t aware of how much dirt and dust builds up on the evaporator coils. While the air filter usually catches the dirt, some can pass through and stay on the coils.
If there is too much dirt between the airflow and the coils, the refrigerant will struggle to absorb the heat. Condensation will then freeze on the coils, eventually leading to a frozen evaporator coil. HVAC frozen coils can take several hours to thaw.
Clogged Air Filter
A clogged air filter is the worst thing for your AC unit. Infrequent filter changes can lead to a broken AC. It restricts the airflow, preventing quality air from circulating. This can lead to frozen compressors or frozen coils. Keeping clean filters in your AC unit will prevent this from happening.
Damaged Blower Fan
This important part of your HVAC system connects to the air ducts and pulls warm air into them. Then, the blower fan circulates the air throughout your home. If the fan stops working, the heat transfer cannot take place, causing ice to build up on the evaporator coils.
How Long Does It Take For AC to Unfreeze?
Depending on how frozen your unit is and its size, unfreezing your AC unit can take approximately 1 to 24 hours. If you have a lot of ice buildup, it will probably take close to 24 hours to thaw a frozen AC unit or frozen AC coils. If you’re wondering how to thaw a frozen AC unit, following these steps can help.
- Turn off your AC unit. Keeping your unit on can create more damage and raise your electric bill.
- Switch your HVAC fan to the “on” position. Even if the unit is off, the fan can help circulate warm air over the unit and thaw it faster.
- Troubleshoot the issue. As we shared above, there are several reasons your AC unit can freeze. Check each one of these places to see if you can locate the issue.
- Keep an eye on the thawing process. As the unit thaws, you may notice overflowing drip pans or other issues you didn’t see before. Empty the pans and place towels nearby to collect any extra water.
- Turn the unit back on. Once your unit thaws, turn it back on and closely monitor the situation. Contact your local HVAC professionals if you suspect the issue is still there.
Contact Us For AC Service Today
Are you dealing with a frozen AC unit? If so, contact Total Home Environmental in Torrance today for service. We work on many AC units in the Torrance, CA, area and can help you with yours, too.