During the summer months, you may know the all-too-familiar experience of realizing that your air conditioning unit simply isn’t running. Longer days mean that your unit has to work overtime in order to keep up with the blazing heat and humidity inside your home. Particularly if you’re fond of setting the lowest possible temperature, your air conditioning unit may simply be unable to keep up.
Head outside to inspect your unit before you do anything else. In many cases, homeowners will find that the unit has actually frozen in its attempt to cool down the interior of your home.
It may be covered in ice so thick that it resembles the first building block of an igloo. While it could be cause for some major concern, other homeowners may find that there’s no real reason to panic. The key to handling a frozen air conditioner is to remain calm and do the next logical step in front of you.
Next time you find a coating of ice blocking your unit from doing its job, what do you need to do first?
What to Do If Your Air Conditioner Freezes
Once you notice the ice on the unit, it’s too late to do much else except wait for it to melt. You may be tempted to leave the power running to the machine, hoping that it will kick on as soon as it’s able to. However, the constant stress of attempting to do its job can cause long-term damage that is far more serious to the motor and fans in the air conditioner.
You may not particularly like it, but the best thing you can do is turn off the air conditioner while you wait for the ice to melt. This may take hours to finish happening, but you will have to allow nature to take its course. You should never attempt to apply additional heat or to pick the ice off of the unit. This can cause more damage to sensitive parts inside the machine.
The fact that your air conditioner accumulated so much water that it was able to freeze should indicate there is a problem somewhere. Take this time to investigate any potential causes that contributed to the final icy condition. Having a look on your own could negate the need for average repair costs that could run into the hundreds.
This is a good time to replace your air filters and inspect the outside of the unit for any debris that could be interfering.
Give it a thorough once-over before you start to pursue other options. Sometimes, these cursory steps can correct the problem entirely once the unit is thawed. You can turn the air conditioning unit back on when the ice is gone to see if the problem is still present. An increase in airflow is a good sign at this stage.
If there are no blockages in the airflow, then you may have a larger issue that needs professional attention.
What Could Be Wrong If Your Air Conditioner Freezes?
When there are no clear clues as to why the unit froze, you probably need to call in a qualified HVAC technician to take a closer look. There are many different reasons why an air conditioner may suddenly freeze solid in the middle of summer. Without a trained eye, you may not be able to identify exactly what they are.
One common issue is a problem with the refrigerant in the air conditioning unit. This isn’t something that can be easily or readily checked by a homeowner on their own. A small leak or low levels of refrigerant can both cause your coils to freeze up, even at high temperatures.
However, there is a greater chance that you are experiencing insufficient airflow for one reason or another. Homeowners who already checked for the basic items listed above may need to consider that their unit could require a significant repair. It may have something blocking the ductwork, a damaged blower, or too much debris built up on the evaporator coil underneath the ice.
All of these things can prevent air from circulating through the unit the way it should. The air can drop to temperatures that are too low, causing the coils to freeze over.
Why You Need to Take Action Immediately
Some homeowners may be tempted to keep running their unit once the ice thaws, hoping that the problem doesn’t return. If your issue was simple and you identified a clear cause, this may very well be true. However, other homeowners are simply hoping for the best possible outcome without doing anything to adequately correct the problem.
If you do not give your air conditioning unit the attention it needs right now, there’s a chance you will do more damage in the long run.
Continuing to allow your air conditioning unit to freeze up throughout the summer could irreparably damage your compressor or the motor. These are expensive parts to replace, and it could be more affordable for you to purchase an entirely new unit at this point. Allowing the problem to worsen over the course of the season may mean a much higher repair bill in the very near future.
Homeowners may be tempted to replenish their refrigerant on their own, but you should avoid doing so until a technician looks at the unit. The levels could be low due to a leak. Without correcting the leak, you will be wasting money on the refrigerant and perpetuating the problem.
Correcting an ice-cold air conditioning unit may not sound like a great way to spend a sweltering summer afternoon. It can definitely be uncomfortable for your entire family to experience this lapse in service, but you will have to wait it out. Be sure to call the professionals and let them know you’re experiencing difficulty so they can place you on the schedule for later in the day or the following morning, if possible.
Signing up for an annual maintenance plan could be a good way to avoid encountering this issue in the warmer seasons. Before the air conditioning unit starts to function full-time, you can be aware of any potential obstructions, leaks, or fluid levels that need to be topped off. It could be a great way for you to have a little more peace of mind about your home and comfort this upcoming season.
Contact Classic Air Conditioning and Heating to help set you up with a maintenance plan or to help repair your icy air conditioner today!