One of the most common issues with central air conditioning systems is that they can be prone to freezing up in certain situations. You’ll generally always be able to easily tell if your AC does freeze since you’ll have hot air blowing out of your vents and the temperature in your house will quickly start to rise. In some cases, you may be able to fix the issue yourself and stop your AC from freezing again, but there are other situations that will require help from an AC technician. This article will provide a step-by-step guide on what to do if your AC freezes up and how to know when you need the help of a technician.

Shut Your AC Off and Turn the Fan On

The first thing to do when if your AC is frozen is to immediately shut it off by switching your thermostat from cooling mode to off. Shutting the system off immediately is important since more and more ice can continue to build on the evaporator coil if the system continues running, which means you’ll need to wait longer for the coil to thaw. That said, the main reason you want to shut the system off is that serious damage can occur if it runs for a prolonged time when frozen.

While you always want to shut the AC itself off, it is useful to allow the fan to keep running by switching it from Auto to On. Leaving the fan running means that it will continue to circulate warm air, and having warm air constantly blowing over the evaporator coil will help the ice to melt much faster.

Wait for the Evaporator Coil to Thaw

You don’t want to try and turn your air conditioning back on until all of the ice on the evaporator coil has melted. If your AC system has an access door on the air handler, you can just open this door and visibly inspect the coil to know when it has fully thawed out. If you don’t have any way to see the coil, we’d recommend leaving the system off for at least a few hours.

Once the coil has finally thawed out, your AC will at least temporarily start putting out cold air again. If you turn the system back on and it continues blowing hot air after 30 seconds to a minute, it means the coil isn’t fully thawed. As such, you should shut the system back off and wait at least another hour or two before trying again. In some cases, it could take as long as 24 hours for the coil to fully thaw, but it should take quite a bit less time if you have the fan continually running.

Check the Air Filter and Replace If Needed

While you’re waiting for the system to thaw, you should check to make sure the air filter isn’t dirty. Running your AC with a dirty filter can easily cause it to freeze. The reason is that a dirty filter greatly reduces the amount of warm air being pulled into the system. If there isn’t sufficient warm air constantly flowing over the evaporator coil as the system runs, it often leads to the condensation on the coil quickly freezing.

Make Sure All Vents Are Fully Open

Another thing to check while you’re waiting is that all of the vents in your home are fully open and nothing is obstructing the airflow coming out of them. Closed vents interfere with an AC system’s ability to circulate air since it leads to much of the cold air backing up inside the supply ducts. This in turn causes issues with the system being able to draw in sufficient warm air, which can again lead to condensation on the evaporator coil freezing.

Contact an AC Service If It Freezes Up Again

If your AC froze because it didn’t have sufficient airflow due to a clogged filter or closed vents, it should work just fine when you turn it back on after it thaws. If it freezes up again at any point over the summer, you should contact an HVAC company and have it inspected. This is because the system is likely freezing up due to one of a few different issues, none of which you can effectively solve yourself. The most common issue is that the evaporator coil is overly dirty and needs to be cleaned. However, it may also be that the blower has some issue that is preventing it from circulating sufficient air or that the system has a leak and is low on refrigerant.

As the number one HVAC company in the Oak Hills area, JC Energy Solutions is the company you should turn to if you need any air conditioning or heating service. We offer exceptional repair and maintenance services and are ready to help if your AC is freezing up or experiencing any other issues. To schedule a service call for your residential or commercial HVAC system, contact us today.

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