How to Deal with Your AC Unit Freezing Up?


It might seem ironic, but despite the summer heat, you might end up finding a chunk of ice protruding out of your outdoor unit on a hot summer day. It’s natural to wonder how your AC froze on a hot day while running continually. However, this is quite possible, and when it happens, your unit deserves professional attention immediately. Established HVAC experts like Hurliman can help you with the necessary technical support to overcome these glitches.

In case you face similar issues with your AC unit freezing up, here are some suitable solutions for you. Read on to learn more about why AC’s can have ice formations and how to troubleshoot your freezing AC.

What to do if your AC freezes up?

To understand how you can deal with a freezing AC unit, you need to know the causes that lead to this condition. Accordingly, you can deploy the necessary measures to fix your AC.

1.Dealing with blocked airflow

Your AC might freeze as a result of reduced or blocked airflow. To ensure that your AC is functioning correctly, you need to ensure constant airflow so that humidity does not affect the coils. 

To ensure that the airflow in the surroundings does not mess up the functionality of the AC, the air filters should be clean and clog-free. Otherwise, you would experience low airflow in the interiors. Given that air filters are cheap, you can change them regularly. Also, try to tune up your AC and clean it regularly to prevent issues with the airflow.

If reduced airflow has been freezing up your AC, you need to defrost the system after turning it off. Let the AC thaw for three hours. Now keep the fan on for an hour. By this time, you should be able to replace the filter. Hopefully, your AC will function normally once you get it replaced.

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2.Working with refrigerant leaks or mechanical glitches

Your AC unit has loads of moving parts. These components might get clogged, broken, or entangled. Sometimes, clogs mess up the filters, the fans no longer work, and the refrigerant starts leaking.

These technical issues can lead to low air pressure. The refrigerant becomes too cold as it expands. As you know, the AC needs refrigerant to regulate the temperature. In case the refrigerant levels drop, it can lead to a frozen unit. If the coolant leaks, you can only fix it temporarily.

For other mechanical defects leading to the unit freezing up, you need professional guidance who can competently handle AC refrigerants. 

3.Dealing with cool summer nights

The manufacturers design ACs to work within a particular temperature range. The summer night sometimes tends to be colder. In these situations, the AC unit might freeze.

To mitigate this issue, you need to install a programmable thermostat. This would shut down the AC automatically when the temperature drops below a certain threshold. However, if your unit doesn’t have this feature, watch out for the temperature each night. In case the temperature is likely to drop sharply, make sure to turn the system off. Keep your windows open so that the cool breeze can get in.

What should you do if there’s ice on the outdoor unit?

In case you have a frozen external unit of your AC, you can put things back in place easily. The most obvious thing to do is to melt the ice and dry the system. Here are certain steps to follow to defrost your AC.

1.Thaw the ice

When the evaporator coil freezes, try not to use the AC. This would save your compressor from the extra effort. Also, remember to put the power off. With these measures, the ice would start to thaw. Remember, the compressor of your AC happens to be the most expensive part of the unit. So, you won’t want this component to sustain damages. Otherwise, the repair costs would keep mounting.

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Thawing the ice might take a whole day, even if temperatures are high outside. Refrain from using any sharp object to break the ice. This would inflict damage to the parts, and you would have to get multiple units replaced. Ultimately, you would have to get a new AC altogether.

2.Dry the system

Now that the ice has melted completely, try to dry the evaporator coils. For this, you would need paper towels. Alternatively, leave the component under direct sunlight to dry.

Connect the AC to its power source and turn on the blower. Also, set the thermostat to fan or blower mode only. As a result, the air would circulate around the coils, which would dry in a quick time. Hopefully, the AC will function normally once you have thoroughly dried the coils.

Preventing your AC from freezing

Defrosting the AC is easy. However, prevention is always better than cure. Thus, you can try and prevent your AC from freezing in the first place. 

  • For instance, a dirty air filter often leads to a frozen AC. The function of the filter is to clean the air that goes around your rooms. The AC unit catches dust, pollen, dirt, and other allergens, restricting the airflow. Therefore, try to change the filters every few months.
  • Schedule timely maintenance with a reputed HVAC expert to keep the evaporator coil clean. The professionals would also tighten the capacitors, contacts, and wiring. Also, they would clean the condensate drain and the condenser. Apart from this, they would recommend other necessary measures to prevent your AC from freezing.
  • A frozen AC unit often stems from obstructed airflow. So, make sure that these components remain dirt or clog-free.


A frozen AC can be frustrating indeed. However, you can prevent the situation from arising altogether. So, make sure not to overlook the scheduled tune-ups or maintenance. This would ensure that you can detect minor issues at an early stage, saving you a lot of money in major repairs.

You can reach out to an established HVAC expert for professional support. With professional hands around, you can keep your expenses to a minimum. This also warrants an interruption-free operation of your AC.


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