Since your AC is designed to cool things down, you might not think it’s a problem if you spot ice on the housing of the outside unit during the summer. You would be wrong. Air conditioning is designed to cool, not freeze, and that ice is a sure sign that something is wrong somewhere in the system. If you do notice ice on your unit, you should immediately shut it off, otherwise it might suffer serious damage, such as a burnt-out compressor. You should then defrost the unit and try to identify the problem.
Here’s a step by step guide of what to do if your AC unit is frozen:
1. Turn off the unit.
As we said, the first thing to do is turn off the unit. You can do this either by flipping the switch for the fuse in your breaker box that controls the power to your unit. You can also turn off the unit using the remote and just leave the blower running to help thaw it out.
2. Defrost the unit.
Do not try to remove any ice by hand as you could actually damage components of your system. Leave it to melt naturally or with the aid of the unit’s blower.
3. Dry the unit.
Once all the ice is gone you still need to dry out the unit. You can do this either by natural evaporation or leaving the blower or fan running in order to circulate air through the system and speed up the process. Another option is to use a hair dryer set on low heat, but this should be done only in emergencies as you run the risk of cracking your coils if the heat is too high or you hold the dryer to close to them.
4. Identify the problem
There are many factors that could cause your AC unit to freeze, some of them you might be able to deal with yourself, others will need the attention of a professional, but either way, it’s better to know the cause of the problem before you get on the phone to your AC maintenance service provider.
Dirty filters/closed vents
Your air conditioning unit needs a certain level of airflow to keep the evaporator coil warm, and both dirty filters and blocked or closed vents decrease the air supply to your system. Check that your air filter isn’t dirty and change it if it is. Walk through your home and check that none of the vents are closed or blocked off.
Faulty fan motor
Your fan circulates air through the system. If it isn’t working properly the result is the same as a blocked vent, not enough air to keep the evaporator coils warm. If it is the fan, try adjusting the speed. If this doesn’t work, you’ll probably need to replace it.
If your thermostat isn’t working correctly, the unit may be running continually placing to much strain on the system and causing it to freeze up.
Blocked drain pipe
Water is expelled from the system through the drain pipe. If it gets blocked, the water will back up and freeze. Check that the drain hole and pipe are free of leaves and other debris.
These are the main causes of frozen AC units. If you aren’t able to identify the problem yourself, or you can spot it but don’t feel competent to deal with it, give us a call here at Chills Air Conditioning.