How To Unfreeze An Air Conditioner (Fix A Frozen AC)

If you have a frozen AC and you’re looking for effective ways on how to unfreeze an air conditioner, then this guide is all you need.

It might happen when you are getting ready to host what you expect to be one of the greatest parties of your life as you have a massive amount of family and friends over at your home. It might happen when you and your colleagues are getting ready to close the deal with some clients on a case that has taken months of preparation and hard work to get to this point. It might happen when you are putting the final finishing flourishes on your décor as you prepare to welcome that special someone over to your home for what you hope will be a romantic night to remember.

There are any number of different scenarios which might precede the dreaded realization that your air conditioning unit has, unfortunately, frozen up – leaving you hot under the collar as you frantically try and fix it.

The solution on how to unfreeze an air conditioner and what you need to do when your air conditioner freezes almost sounds like the beginning of a joke. The irony certainly isn’t lost on anyone. This device in which you had depended on to keep your home cool has now frozen, which is bad enough, but you also have to figure out what you’re going to do while your air conditioner is on the fritz.

Ironically, your air conditioner freezing to such an extent that it stops working properly can actually precede your home starting to heat up as a result.

That’s the worst of both works, and certainly not something you want to see remain the status quo.

Here, then, is a quick look at what causes air conditioners to freeze in the first place, and how to fix a frozen AC unit and restore it to its proper working condition.

How To Unfreeze An Air Conditioner

Turn Your AC Off

When you are faced with air conditioning troubles in the midst of a long hot day, your first instinct might be to leave it running. It might have frozen up, but surely your AC working in some capacity is better than it not being on at all, right?

Wrong. Not only will you not really get any cool air as a result of running your air conditioning system when it is broken or frozen up, but if anything, you will only damage it further. You naturally don’t want to do this, which is why it is of the utmost importance that you shut down your unit immediately upon finding it frozen up.

Check the Filter

Now that you have shut off your air conditioning system, it’s time to start having a look at the issues which might be causing the problem in the first place, starting with your filter. Your filters are among the most important components of your air conditioning system, after all, and so they can be at the root of many potential problems, including a freeze in operation.

Carefully unscrew your return vent, have a look at your filter, and if it is dirty, replace it. This may or may not be the cause of the freeze, but if nothing else, filthy filters are always a problem worth resolving, and that will be one less hassle to deal with in getting your air conditioning running properly again.

Thaw Your AC

Whether or not your filter was the underlying cause of the problem, having a frozen air conditioner means having to thaw it out. To begin with, you’ll want to make sure that your unit’s thermostat is off while the fan on your unit is switched into the on position. This will allow you to start thawing out.

Thawing the A-Coil

The thing you will need to start thawing out now is called the A-Coil. This is what allows for much of the heat transfer work in a unit. You will need to make sure that this is completely thawed before you start thinking about proceeding to later steps.

That being said, this whole process can take a few hours to complete. That’s one of the biggest problems with having to thaw out your air conditioning unit. There simply isn’t a way to do so quickly enough to avoid the long hours of heat and stuffiness which are sure to follow as you mend the problem. It is advisable that you flip on some fans or take other home cooling measures in the intervening time.

A Word on Melting Water

By now, you should be well underway in the long process necessary to thaw out your air conditioning system and get it working again. That’s all well and good, until you remember that all that frost and ice isn’t going to simply disappear. Rather, it’s going to melt, and that means a great deal of water suddenly dripping and pooling in the affected areas.

You need to be ready for that. Be sure that you keep your unit away from any electrical outlets which might catch that water and start to have problems or pose a hazard. What’s more, you are going to want to spare a thought as to how you are going to collect all that water in the first place.

That means using a pan or similar item to collect the water, lest it start to drip everywhere and start to cause problems. If you have a specialty condensate pan, now is the time to use it. In any event, you’ll want to check back in on your AC regularly throughout the thawing process, with one of the key things to watch being the degree to which the frost is melting and collecting in these pans or similar receptacles. Be aware of this from the beginning, as you may need to empty these pans or receptacles out should they begin to overflow with the melted water.

Failing to manage all of this properly can lead to the collected water failing to drain properly, which in turn can cause a great deal of water damage if you are not careful. In addition, if the water is pooling in these pans or receptacles, you are going to want to make sure that you have deodorizing agents on hand to deal with the smell, should it start to become too much.

Restarting Your AC

Now that you have successfully used your fan system to thaw out the vital coils and other parts of your AC, it’s time to let it dry for a bit. Once the melted away water has dried and been cleaned away, you should be ready to start up your AC again. Hopefully, now that you have thawed things out, it should be functioning normally again. If it isn’t, recheck everything.

That said, you don’t want to “fix” your AC until you’ve broken it further. If problems persist, contact an AC repair team.

Still, unless you have a more severe underlying problem, you should be good to go at this point. Switch your thermostat on again. If the air that comes out of your unit is cool, as you would hopefully expect from your AC, then congratulations – you have successfully thawed and fixed your air conditioning unit.

In the event of your air conditioning freezing up, don’t panic, but rather keep cool and carry on by following these aforementioned steps on how to unfreeze an air conditioner, and hopefully you’ll have your unit up and running again in no time.