It is important that your AC unit helps cool your home, but it does not need to freeze up to do so. Basically, a properly working system removes warm air from the home's interior, converts it to cool air, and then transfers it back into the home. If, during this process, a frosty residue builds up on the actual AC unit, there is a problem to address.

In most cases, a frozen AC unit will not be able to produce or move cooled air into the home, reducing your family's comfort. In addition, the frozen unit will try to work harder in an attempt to cool, resulting in more stress and energy usage that can be costly. Fortunately, help is available if you are dealing with a frozen AC system.

Causes of Frozen Unit

Before repairs can be made, you and the contractors will have to determine what caused the unit to freeze up.

A dirty air filter is one of the most common causes of a frozen unit, and it is also one of the easiest things to prevent. If the air filter clogs up with dirt, dust, and other debris, air will not properly flow in and out of the home. This causes the system to use more refrigerant to cool the home, which can build up on the condenser coils, eventually freezing up the unit entirely.

Most manufacturers say replacing the filter every month is sufficient. However, if you have pets, live in a dusty environment/climate, or have allergies, you may want to replace your AC system's filter every three weeks. This will ensure air flows properly while also ensuring the unit does not leak refrigerant or freeze up.

Dusty refrigerant coils can also cause the unit to freeze up. The dust buildup prevents moisture from flowing out of the unit properly. This leads to moisture accumulation that causes the dusty residue to linger, blanketing the coils. Cold moisture will then become trapped on the coils, eventually freezing and causing your entire unit to freeze up and no longer work properly.

Low levels of refrigerant will also result in a frozen unit. Refrigerant, or freon, is an important part of the system's cooling ability. As warm air is moved out of the home, refrigerant helps convert it to cooled air, which is needed to cool the inside of your home. If the system has lost refrigerant, you will not be able to cool the home, but you will also see the actual refrigerant gas build up on the coils, instantly freezing.

Repairing a Frozen Unit

If you see your unit is frozen, contact an HVAC contractor quickly. You should also shut off the system, preventing the air conditioning from running further, which will only waste energy and place more stress on the unit.

Contractors may turn the system back on, allowing only the fan to run. This can help defrost the unit to improve visibility and locate the root cause of the problem. Once the system has been defrosted, replacing a dirty air filter may enough to resolve the problem. Running the fans will also defrost any icy buildup and moisture on the unit's coils.

It is also important to address possible refrigerant leaks. The location of the leak should be repaired immediately. This repair may involve replacing components, ductwork, or even the entire unit in some cases. Once the leak is detected and repaired, the system should be recharged with more refrigerant, allowing the unit to cool properly.

Help is available if you believe your unit is frozen. This guide and your contractor will help you understand the cause and address the problem effectively. Reach out to a professional for air conditioning repair help.