It’s a bizarre sight, but not uncommon. On a sweltering Corpus Christi Day when the sun is shining, you find that your outside air conditioner is covered in ICE!
What should you do when you have a frozen air conditioner?
Calling Tiger Heating & Air is to come out and fix your AC will get you back up and running, but there are a few DIY steps you can try yourself. There may be a relatively simple problem causing your air conditioner to freeze up, and one you might be able to repair quickly and cheaply!
We will go over the most likely reasons why ice develops on an air conditioner. Some have troubleshooting steps that many homeowners can try to tackle on their own. Other causes are best left to trained HVAC repair technicians who can accurately diagnose the problem and successfully resolve it.
No matter how your air conditioner froze up, there is an basic – yet critical – step you must do first. You need to get your AC unit thawed. And that starts at your thermostat.
It is turning the thermostat to OFF. And then turn the fan ON. This will start the defrosting process.
If it’s a hot day, your AC could be fully thawed in just a couple of hours.
If the conditioned air is cool and the unit doesn’t freeze up again, you are good to go. If it does freeze up again, turn the air conditioner back OFF and the fan set to ON. Then you will need to call an experienced AC repair technician, like our fabulous HVAC team at Tiger, as you’ve got a bigger problem on your hand.
1. Dirty Air Filter
The most likely cause of a frozen air conditioner coil is not enough air flowing over the evaporator coils. The air that flows over your coils loses its heat to the coils, but if not enough air is flowing, the refrigerant gets too cold and might cause the coils to freeze.
The leading reading why the airflow could be hampered is that your air filter is dirty. A dirty filter can block or clog airflow and is a common cause for an air conditioning unit to freeze up.
While the AC unit is thawing out, check the air filter on your furnace. If it’s dark and dirty, replace it even if it’s not on schedule to be replaced yet. Many homeowners do not change their filters as frequently as they should.
Once your air filter is replaced and the AC unit is thawed out, you should try to turn the AC back on at the thermostat and see if it works now.
2. Blocked (or closed) return ducts
There is a common misconception that you should close any vents that you don’t need to save on energy use and cost. That is not the case. The ductwork in your home, including the vents, was designed to work as a system. Closing off too much of this system can cause it not to work correctly. It may be okay to have a few vents closed, but this can cause problems, including a frozen AC unit if you have too many.
Are any vents in your home closed or obstructed? Check the vents in your home to make sure they are open and not blocked. Move aside any items, including furniture or curtains, covering or blocking the vents.
3. Low Refrigerant Levels
Being low on refrigerant (freon) is the main reason why air conditioners freeze up. Often that indicates there is a leak in your system. This is a potentially dangerous problem and should be resolved only by a trained AC technician.
4. Dirty evaporator coils
Dirty evaporator coils are another problem that can cause an air conditioner to freeze.
If there is any buildup on these coils, they won’t be able to absorb the heat it needs to produce cool air for your home. If the filter is clean, and you still have poor airflow, it is likely being caused by a dirty coil.
Performing annual maintenance on your system should keep this problem from happening. Tiger Heating & Air provides professional AC maintenance and tune-up service. Call us at 361-852-4450 to get a technician scheduled.
5. Mechanical Failures
Various mechanical problems can cause an outdoor unit to freeze. An HVAC system involves a lot of components. Perhaps there is a kink in a refrigerant line, or the blower fan is not working. These sorts of mechanical failures can cause the pressure to change in your system and make your air conditioner freeze up.
Another problem that can cause ice to form on your air conditioner is a broken or malfunctioning blower motor. This part inside your AC makes sure that the fan blows return air over the evaporator coils. If not enough air moves over the coils, your air conditioner will get too cold and freeze up.
6. Temperature is Cold Outside
Did you leave your thermostat on COOL during a cold snap? If you are running your AC when the outside temperature dips into the 50s or below, the pressure inside of your system will drop. That is enough to cause a freeze-up of your air conditioner.
If one of the above problems was something you can tackle and fixed your frozen AC, that’s great! However, you are not out of the woods yet. You want to make sure that your air conditioning system doesn’t refreeze. Give it time, and make sure your system remains ice-free. If it freezes up again, that means that whatever troubleshooting step you did was not enough to fix the problem completely. You will need to call for a professional AC repair.
Tiger Heating & Air is trained and experienced to service any type or model of air conditioner or cooling system. We provide 24/7 service to the entire Corpus Christi area and can be trusted to provide you with friendly, quality service at a fair price. Call on us to fix any AC problem! You can read reviews from people across Corpus Christi on why they say you can’t go wrong with Tiger!
Call Tiger at (361) 852-4450 and let us how we can help you today!