My Air Conditioner Froze! What Should I Do?

Your air conditioner looks like it just got back from a trip to Siberia. It's covered in ice, and yet the only air coming out of your home's ducts feels warm and muggy. You're probably wondering right about now if this signals the end for your A/C. Don't worry: it's very likely not. This kind of thing can happen for a variety of reasons. To understand the issue, you must first know how your air conditioner works. 

Air Conditioning 101

Air conditioners work by sending expanded, cooled gas (freon) into a coil that comes into contact with air from your home. Heat from your home is absorbed by the gas, which is then sent to another part of the coil, where the gas is compressed and heated. The hot gas is exposed to air temperatures outside, the heat is released, the gas is expanded and the cycle starts over. 

Your air conditioner froze because there's a kink in this process. This could be the result of a number of problems, including:

  • Warm air from your home isn't reaching the coil, either due to mechanical failure or because the air filter is clogged.
  • There's not enough freon inside the coil anymore, so it's over-expanding and getting too cold.

What does this mean for you?

Your first step, logically, is to thaw the air conditioner. Turn it off and let it sit for a day. If the frozen components are inside your home, put blankets, towels and buckets beneath the ice to catch the water. Check back with these towels and buckets periodically to ensure you're not leaking all over the floor. 

While the AC is off, you can troubleshoot your unit by changing the air filter. The air filter will be positioned between the air handler and the return air duct. Look for a slat with a cardboard frame inserted into it. Pull out the frame. If the air filter is very dirty, this may be the source of your problem. Air filters are sold at home improvement centers and hardware stores everywhere. Take the air filter to the store to find an exact match. Once at home, replace the air filter and wait for the system to thaw before trying to turn it on. 

Know When to Seek Professional Help

If the air conditioner still isn't working, it's time to call for air conditioning repair. Call an air conditioning company like Action Air of Florida for help.