In Jacksonville and other parts of Southern Florida, warm weather is guaranteed. You rely on your air conditioner to keep your home cool and comfortable when the heat and humidity are at their highest. When your AC unit freezes up, it can make your house feel muggy and unpleasant. Even with temperatures soaring, it’s not uncommon for air conditioners to freeze and malfunction.
If your AC is freezing up, there are several different issues that might be causing the problem. Some issues are relatively simple, while others may require the assistance of a professional HVAC company. Follow these tips to unfreeze your AC and prevent these issues altogether.
Let the Ice Melt
The first and most important step to take when your air conditioner freezes up is to turn the unit off immediately. Unfreezing the AC can take anywhere from an hour to an entire day, depending on how much ice has accumulated.
Switch the thermostat from cooling to the “off” position. Although it may be unpleasant to wait until the ice melts, leaving the unit running with frozen coils can actually cause extensive damage to the compressor. Turn on the fan so warm air will blow over the AC coils to speed up the thawing process. You can also use a hair dryer to help thaw the ice. Just don’t try to break the ice with sharp objects, as it could damage parts of the air conditioner and result in repair.
Dry the Coils
After the ice has melted, dry the coils before turning the air conditioner back on. With the power turned off, carefully remove the cover and let the unit air dry. As soon as the coils have completely dried, your AC should operate as normal. However, it’s important to understand what caused the frozen coils in the first place to prevent the problem again in the future.
Inspect the Blower and the Motor
If your blower isn’t functioning like it should, it won’t circulate enough air through the unit’s return inlet. Whenever this happens, your air conditioner won’t be able to draw air in or spit it back out, causing the unit to constantly chill itself. For that reason, a failing blower or motor could be the cause of the freezing.
Inspect the motor inside your air conditioning unit. There may be components that need to be replaced to prevent the unit from freezing again. If the motor doesn’t have any power once you turn your AC back on, you might be dealing with a defective control board. Or, the fan and the motor may need to be lubricated. Scheduling regular air conditioning services can keep problems like these from happening in the first place.
Clean or Replace Your Air Filters
Once you’ve verified that your blower and motor are working properly, check your air filters. Start with the air filter located between the AC unit and the return duct. Look for damage like debris, ice, and dust that could clog the system and prevent air from flowing. Then, check all of the air filters throughout your house. If any are dirty or clogged, replace them immediately.
Also, remember to check the filter on your AC handler unit. Anything that blocks the airflow in the supply or return vents will restrict air circulation to your air conditioner. As a result, the coolant in your coils won’t have enough warm air to absorb heat that is necessary to prevent freezing.
Typically, we recommend that you replace your filters at least once every 3 months. The frequency in which you should change your filters may vary based on factors like:
- How many children or pets you have
- The type of filters you use
- If anyone in your house has allergies or heart conditions
- If you or a household member smokes
- How often you run your air conditioner
Open All Your Supply Vents
Make sure that all your supply vents are opened. Don’t forget to check the vents in the less occupied rooms in your home to verify that none are even partially closed.
Your ducts and vents should never be obstructed, so also look around and verify that furniture or other objects aren’t blocking airflow back to the unit. Your vents should have plenty of space to ensure free air circulation. Be sure you clean your supply vents regularly to prevent dirt and dust buildup.
Inspect the Condensate Line
If the condensate line has any blockage from dirt, debris, or water, condensation will eventually accumulate and freeze your air conditioner coils. To inspect your condensate line, follow the line to the outlet outside. If you don’t see water constantly dripping, you most likely have a frozen or blocked condensate line which will cause freezing.
Check the Evaporator Coil
Evaporator chambers often get rusty or moldy, putting the AC unit at risk of blockages. To inspect the evaporator coils, open the front panel of the indoor air conditioning unit. If you notice debris, try to clean the coil with a clean rag. If the coil has rust on it, you may need to contact an experienced HVAC contractor to address the issue. Damaged or malfunctioning AC parts may need a more thorough inspection.
Adjust the Fan Speed
Both the thermostat temperature and fan speed can influence how your air conditioner transfers heat from the indoors to the outdoors. During the hot summer months when temperatures are much higher, you should set your fan to run at a faster speed to lower the inside temperatures. Lower fan speeds can actually drain the unit, so it may have a harder time maintaining the ideal temperature. In this case, poor air circulation combined with cool refrigerant can actually cause ice to form on the coils.
Increase the fan speed to provide much-needed airflow. Alternatively, you can also raise your thermostat to prevent cool refrigerant from flowing through the unit. It’s also best to refrain from running your air conditioner at low temperatures during warmer weather to keep your AC from freezing up.
Fix a Refrigerant Leak
One of the most common causes of an AC unit freeze up is a refrigerant leak. If this is the culprit behind your air conditioning freeze, you should contact a trained air conditioning expert. Complicated issues like this may require taking the air conditioner apart for a more detailed inspection. Attempting to fix a problem this big could be dangerous or even compromise your entire AC unit.
Schedule Air Conditioning Service Today
A proactive mindset can save you money on electric bills and prevent air conditioning problems before they arise. Avoid the hassles of a frozen AC unit with regular maintenance service at least twice a year.
If you haven’t been able to pinpoint the problem with your unit by now, it’s time to call the professionals. For comprehensive heating and cooling solutions within a timely manner, don’t hesitate to contact the experts at McGowan's Heating & Air Conditioning. We also offer air duct cleaning, attic insulation, and indoor air quality solutions. Dedicated to customer satisfaction, we go the extra mile to deliver top-notch results and service you can always rely on. Visit our website or give us a call today for more information!