What Do I Do if My AC Freezes?

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Air conditioning units outside a building
AC units can be fickle, a professional can help

Your air conditioning unit works around the clock during the brutal summer months to keep you and your family cool. So how is it possible for the unit to freeze? Despite the irony of your AC freezing up, it happens quite often. Understanding the causes can help you fix your AC unit or avoid the problem altogether. Here are some things you need to know. 

What Causes AC Freezes?

Air conditioning systems are complex and made up of many different moving parts and systems. For example, the evaporator coil works to expand refrigerant so that it cools down. When the refrigerant leaves the air conditioner, it cools the inside of the home by removing hot air from inside the house. 

An issue within the system can make the evaporator coil go overboard with the cooling process. This can lead to the refrigerant icing over, which causes numerous issues throughout the rest of the system. Unfortunately, fixing these issues can be expensive. Understanding the root cause can help you prevent freezing from ever happening. Some potential root causes include:

Air Flow Blockage

In order to prevent freezing, your air conditioner needs constant airflow so humidity can’t settle on the coils and freeze. Airflow blockages prevent this from happening. These blockages can come in many different forms: dirty air filters, debris, damage to your air ducts, damage to your vents, etc. 

Unfortunately, the most common causes of blockages are a dirty air filter. We say unfortunately because this is an easily avoidable problem. Air filters are cheap and can be purchased at any home goods store. Experts recommend changing your air filter once per month, but certain filters only require change once every three months. 

Refrigerant Leaks

All it takes is one part of your system malfunctioning for the rest of the system to go with it. Even a small malfunction is enough for the pressure to drop in your system, allowing the refrigerant to expand too much, leading to freezing. Malfunctions can also lead to refrigerant leaks, which can harm your system in several different ways. 

Your system needs refrigerant to regulate the temperature throughout the machine. A drop in refrigerant can lead to freezing. Some of these leaks can be easier to fix than others. For example, a coolant leak may require a new system entirely. That’s because it’s difficult to provide long-term repairs.

Cool Temperatures

Mother Nature is hard to predict. Even during the summer months, temperatures can drop to a level that’s dangerous for your air conditioning unit. Your unit is calibrated to operate within a certain set of optimum temperature thresholds. Anything under this threshold can lead to freezing inside of the systems. 

One of the ways to avoid this is by installing a programmable thermostat. These thermostats shut down the AC when temperatures get below 60 degrees. If you don’t have a thermostat that is programmable, you will have to monitor the weather closely. When it’s going to be colder than 60 degrees outside, you should turn off your AC and, instead, open your windows to let the cool summer breeze cool your home. 

If Your AC Freezes Let Your Unit Thaw

If you believe your unit is frozen over, give it some time to thaw out. Start by turning off your AC unit at the electric breaker. Since this means your AC won’t be pumping cool air into your home, try to plan this around a day you expect to be gone. Also, be mindful of any pets in the home and the forecast outside. 

It may take up to 24-hours for the ice to thaw, so don’t expect immediate results. While it may be tempting, don’t attempt to break up the ice with a heavy object or sharp tool. This can damage the components, which leads to more problems. 

Maintenance Services Can Help

One of the easiest ways to prevent AC freezes is through regular maintenance services. These services are provided by professional AC companies and help ensure that your unit is ready for the summertime. A trained and experienced technician will go through the necessary steps to help your AC unit protect itself from freezing. 

Call A Professional

If your air conditioning unit is frozen over, it’s time to call a professional. While there are DIY fixes, these fixes are often temporary in nature. On top of that, you’re not a professional. Without the proper training and experience in the industry, you can damage your unit further by attempting to fix it. A professional technician is highly trained and experienced, meaning they can handle any problem your AC unit throws at them. 

A frozen AC unit means a hot and uncomfortable home. To get your AC unit back on track, you need professional assistance. Call a local AC repair company to ensure your unit gets back to where it needs to be, cooling your home.