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How to Unfreeze an Air Conditioner

There’s nothing more inconvenient than your air conditioner breaking down in the heat of summer, especially in Texas. It can even be dangerous on a hot day! Most of the time when an AC breaks down on a hot day is because it’s frozen. Don’t worry — Barker’s Heating & Cooling is here to help you understand why this happens and explain what to do if it does.

What is a frozen AC?

While it seems impossible that an air conditioner would freeze in triple-digit heat, frozen air conditioners are one of the most common issues HVAC companies see during the summer. This happens when the coils of your AC, which hold the refrigerant, become dirty with dust and debris. When condensation forms during the cooling process, it sticks to the dust and dirt instead of dripping away as it usually does and freezes on the cold coils. Once the ice has fully formed on the coils, they can no longer release cool air, causing the whole system to stop working. 

You’ll know your AC is freezing up if you see ice anywhere on the unit during the summer. However, it’s more likely that you’ll notice the lack of cool air first. If you find ice on your air conditioner, you can fix it yourself with just a few steps and a little bit of time.

How to Fix a Frozen AC

Luckily you can easily fix a frozen AC without much work. All you need is some time to let the fix work. Follow these simple steps to unfreeze your AC:

  • Start by checking your air filter. Clogged air filters are the number one cause of frozen air conditioners, so you’ll need to replace the filter if it’s dirty and remember to do so regularly.
  • Locate your thermostat and turn it to OFF to stop the cooling process. Then turn the fan to help circulate warm air past the frozen coils and thaw them faster.
  • Find a way to beat the heat of your house for a couple of hours while the ice thaws. We recommend going to the pool, seeing a movie or even visiting a friend’s house while you wait.
  • One there isn’t any ice left on the coils, wipe off as much of the dust and dirt as you can with a rag. This will help prevent the AC from freezing again.
  • Turn the thermostat back to COOL and the fan back to AUTO. You should begin feeling the cool air within minutes.

If these steps don’t work or you frequently find your AC frozen, call a trusted AC company to inspect the unit. A frozen AC can sometimes indicate refrigerant problems, so it’s important not to ignore a frozen AC.

Prevent Your AC From Freezing

The best thing you can do to prevent a frozen air conditioner is to change your air filters every one to three months, depending on how quickly it gets dirty. If you have shedding pets, changing your filter monthly is the best option. Another way you can keep your AC from freezing is by scheduling an AC tune-up each spring before it gets too hot. Part of a comprehensive tune-up is cleaning the unit, so your technician should wipe off the coils if they notice any debris coating them.

For more information or to schedule AC repair, contact Barker’s Heating & Cooling today.

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What Our Customers Say

Very Professional

Chandler did an excellent job checking out our heat pump. He was very professional, communicated well, was responsive to our questions and I was very happy with everything he did.

Steve M.

Honest and Trustworthy

Our AC went out during a late summer heatwave. Called Barkers and Victor worked very hard to get the outside unit up and running. Two hours later we conceded to the death of a 29 yo unit. Victor notified the office the next morning, and within 24 hours we had a complete new system installed, and the house cooled by the time I got home from work. Highly recommend. Honest and trustworthy.

Susan H.

Very Impressed

We were impressed by this company from the first phone call. Reed was an exceptional young man; very personable and professional. The installation team of Mike, John and Cody did an excellent job. Barker’s is a business with high standards and we are very satisfied with everything about them. So glad we found this company!

Donna D.