It can be a real headache for you if your AC is not working on a hot summer day, but finding a pile of ice stuck inside your AC unit is even more stressful.
But what do you do if this happens? Do you know how to unfreeze an AC unit and get it up and running again?
Well, if you are like most homeowners, this might be a challenge for you. But there is no cause for alarm. This comprehensive guide shows you exactly how to unfreeze an AC unit fast and restore its operations.
So, where do you start?
Steps on How to Unfreeze an Air Conditioner
1. Switch off the AC
It sounds so obvious that whenever you realize that your AC is frozen, you need to switch it off immediately. But while it might seem like a no-brainer, it’s also the most common way of getting rid of the ice.
Remember, having a frozen AC is not something to joke about. It can bring more damage to other components of your AC, causing you significant losses. Therefore, it should be addressed with haste.
People mostly switch off the thermostat and control panel, but it is advisable to do it from the electric breaker. It will stop all of your AC’s activities and assist the evaporator coil in getting warm and melting the ice. The Ice should melt within 24-48 hours.
2. Employ a Little Heat
Switching off your AC might not be the ultimate solution to melting the ice. The process might take time before the AC gets back to its normal operations, and this is time you may not have.
You can fasten this process by directing more heat towards the ice. Please turn on your blow dryer and ensure it is set on low. It should also be at least ten inches from the evaporator coils to allow heating of the ice.
You just need to hold your blow dryer for fifteen minutes maximum, and the ice will be gone. Do not use heating ways like lamps or propane torches for caution purposes. These might cause more damage to your AC.
3. Examine and Clean the Draining Components
Checking cleaning the draining component is another way how to unfreeze an AC unit. If the ice dissolves and turns to liquid, it goes to the condensate drain pan and later to a white PVC pipe. During bad weather, this line gets blocked because of the dirty water or the mold inside.
Consequently, the dripping water on the drain pipe will not go out due to the clogged pipe. It causes an overflow that can destroy your AC parts or cause another freezing episode.
Luckily, it is easy to tell when the pipe is clogged. There will be water leakages in your AC even when you try melting the ice. Better still, you will observe water stains on the ceiling.
4. Turn off the Thermostat
How do you unfreeze an air conditioner fast? By turning off your thermostat from COOL to OFF state. Whenever there is ice on your AC, your refrigerant is extremely colder than normal. If the cold refrigerant accesses the outdoor unit, it damages your compressor.
The compressor only receives refrigerant in superheat gas form and not in the liquid. To solve this, switch your thermostat from cool to off mode. It will automatically stop your AC from directing cold air to your outdoor unit where the compressor is placed.
5. Ensure that the Fan Setting is ON
Your indoor fan will blow warm air continuously over the frozen coils if turned on. This way, it will assist the ice in melting faster.
In this situation, your fan setting should never be on AUTO mode at any given time. It only operates during a cooling cycle to run the blower motor.
You should, however, note that this method of unfreezing your AC may take 1-24 hours, depending on the ice buildup extent.
6. Inspect your Air Filters?
Your unit’s air filters might also be the cause of the frozen coils. And if they are, inspecting them would be the first step to solving the problem.
Usually, dirty or clogged air filters can lead to frozen coils. Therefore, cleaning or replacing the air filters would solve the problem.
Ensure that you regularly check on the filters to ensure that they are not hindering proper airflow due to dirt and debris. Turn off your thermostat to examine your air filters perfectly.
You can also get in touch with a technician to address this problem. They will decide if the filter needs replacing or not.
7. Clean the Coils
Dirty coils are another reason why your AC might be frozen. Since the coils are responsible for absorbing heat from the air, any dirt or dust accumulation on them will cause them not to do their job properly.
Therefore, it is paramount to take care of them first. If ice builds up and gets into the evaporator coils, it can cause bigger issues to your AC.
Use a soft towel to do away with any clinging debris, dirt, or moisture. And if you are not well-versed in such a task, ensure that you contact a qualified HVAC technician.
8. Address the Freezing Problems
A freezing AC is an indicator of bigger problems in it. So, even after learning how to unfreeze an AC unit, it is prudent to figure out what causes this. If not, there will be a repeat again.
In a nutshell, the issues that lead to your AC freezing are;
- Refrigerant leaks Evaporator coils covered by dirt and debris
- Malfunctioning or weak blower motor
- Stuck and closed expansion valve
- Clogged air filters Electrical issues on electrical parts or the thermostat
- Old compressors Collapsed and bent duct
9. Switch your AC back on
After figuring out how to unfreeze an AC unit fast, or after the technician solves all these issues causing your AC to freeze, you can now switch it on and see if it is functioning properly. Turn it back on from the thermostat and examine if the fans are also working.