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How to Handle a Frozen AC System

You might wonder how your AC unit can freeze when it’s busy pumping cold air into your home, but this issue is actually one of the most common concerns when it comes to air conditioners. And there are all kinds of things that can cause your evaporator coil to freeze. If dirt and debris are clogging your coils and restricting air flow, for example, you may end up with a frozen unit. This can also occur if you unit is running constantly, the blower motor goes out, you’ve blocked air vent and returns in the house (by closing them off or placing heavy furniture in front of them), or your refrigerant levels are out of whack. Of course, you are not a professional technician, so you might not even realize that your AC system has frozen, much less know what it causing it. What you do know is that your AC is on the fritz. And you’ll probably need some help to fix it.

The first thing to do is determine if your air conditioner is frozen or if something else is to blame for the trouble with your home cooling system. And the easiest way to tell is by looking to see if there is ice anywhere on the unit. If you observe frost or ice on coils or other components of your system, it’s a pretty clear indication that your unit is freezing. Of course, your unit may also shut down completely, in which case the ice could melt, leaving puddles of water behind. Either way, there are certain circumstances in which you can actually take some easy steps to solve the problem.

Restricted air flow is a common cause of a frozen AC system, and you may be able to fix it simply enough by removing the housing on your unit and cleaning out dirt and debris that are clogging up the works. You should also check the returns in your home. If they’re blocked by furniture or other items, it could be causing the condensation and freezing in your system. You should also make sure that you’re cleaning or replacing filters as needed, depending on how much you use your system and the climate you live in. If there’s a lot of dust blowing around, it could clog your unit.

Of course, there are problems the average homeowner can’t solve alone. If refrigerant problems are to blame or some other type of failure is occurring, you’re going to need the services of a professional HVAC technician. In addition to annual service calls for inspection, cleaning, and maintenance, you should contact your service provider immediately if you suspect that your AC system has frozen. Since these technicians can be in high demand during the busy summer months, you’ll want to schedule an appointment as soon as possible to ensure that your system doesn’t fail during the hottest part of the year. Preparing your home for summer isn’t hard when you schedule annual HVAC service to keep your AC unit in ship shape. But should it freeze, you might not want to troubleshoot on your own.

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