Summer is here, and the last thing you want is for your air conditioning unit to betray you on one of the hottest days of the year. Unfortunately, air conditioning units are notorious for freezing up, which often leads to inadequate cooling and a lot of headaches. Luckily, there are several steps you can take to unfreeze your AC and get it working normally again. In this article, we’ll take you through the most common reasons for AC freezing and the steps you can take to fix the problem. Keep reading to learn how to keep your cool when your AC is freezing up!

1. Identifying the Problem: Common Causes of Frozen AC Units

How To Fix Frozen AC: Identifying the Problem

If you notice that your air conditioning unit is not cooling your home as it should, you might have a frozen AC unit. A frozen air conditioning unit can be frustrating, especially during the hot summer months. Before doing anything else, it is important to identify the cause of the problem.

Common Causes of Frozen AC Units

1. Restricted Airflow: When the airflow in your air conditioning system is restricted, it can cause the evaporator coil to freeze up. This can be caused by a dirty air filter, blocked vents, or a malfunctioning blower motor.

2. Low Refrigerant: If your AC unit has a low level of refrigerant, it can cause the evaporator coil to freeze. Low refrigerant can be caused by a leak in your system or improper installation.

3. Faulty Thermostat: A faulty thermostat can cause your AC unit to run continuously, leading to frozen components.

4. Dirty Evaporator Coil: If your evaporator coil is dirty, it can prevent warm air from being absorbed, making the coil too cold and causing it to freeze.

5. Blocked Drain Line: When the drain line is blocked, it can cause condensation to build up and freeze on the evaporator coil.

Now that you know the common causes of a frozen AC unit, you can take the necessary steps to fix the problem and ensure your home stays cool and comfortable. In the next section, we will outline some immediate steps to take when your AC freezes up.

2. Immediate Steps to Take When Your AC Freezes Up

If you notice that your AC unit has frozen up, it’s important to take immediate action to prevent further damage and reduce the risk of downtime. Here are some steps to take as soon as you notice your AC is frozen:

Turn Off the AC Unit

The first thing you should do is turn off your AC unit at the thermostat. Continuing to run the unit when it’s frozen can cause the compressor to burn out, which is a costly repair. It’s also important to turn off the power to the unit at your circuit breaker to prevent any accidents while you’re working on it.

Check for Restricted Airflow

Check to see if anything is blocking airflow to your AC unit, such as a dirty air filter or vents that are closed or blocked. Restricted airflow can cause your AC unit to work harder, which can lead to ice buildup and eventual freezing. If you notice anything that could be obstructing airflow, remove it or clean it and then turn your unit back on to see if it runs properly.

Thaw the AC Unit

Once you’ve turned off power to your unit and checked for restricted airflow, you can begin the thawing process. The easiest way to thaw your AC unit is to turn the fan on without the cooling function. This will help circulate warm air and speed up the thawing process. It’s important not to use any tools or sharp objects to remove the ice as this may damage the unit.

Following these immediate steps can help get your AC unit running again, but it’s important to take additional steps to prevent future freezing.

3. How to Thaw Your AC Unit Safely and Effectively


If you have identified that your AC unit has frozen up, it’s important to safely and effectively thaw it out to avoid any damage to the unit. Follow these steps to thaw your AC unit:

1. Turn off the AC unit:

Before attempting to thaw your AC unit, turn it off completely. This will prevent any further damage to the unit and ensure that it’s not using electricity while it’s frozen.

2. Remove any ice:

Using a plastic scraper or a spatula, carefully remove any ice or frost that has accumulated on the unit. Under no circumstances should you use sharp objects or tools to remove the ice as this can damage the unit.

3. Allow the unit to thaw:

Once you have removed as much ice as possible, leave the AC unit off and allow it to thaw out completely. This can take a few hours, depending on the amount of ice on the unit.

4. Check the air filter:

Once the unit has thawed, check the air filter for any signs of damage or clogging. A clogged air filter can cause the unit to freeze up again. If the air filter is dirty or clogged, replace it with a new one, if necessary.

5. Turn the unit back on:

Once the unit has thawed and the air filter has been replaced (if necessary), turn the AC unit back on and check to see if it’s working correctly.

Thawing your AC unit is just the first step in fixing a frozen AC. To prevent your unit from freezing up again, it’s important to take preventative measures and maintain your AC regularly.

4. Preventative Measures: Maintaining Your AC to Avoid Freezing

To avoid the inconvenience of a frozen AC unit, regular maintenance is crucial. Here are some preventative measures that you can take to ensure your AC unit stays functional throughout the summer season.

1. Check and Replace Air Filters Regularly

Dirty air filters are one of the most common reasons for a frozen AC unit. Blocked airflow through the air filters causes the evaporator coils to become too cold, causing them to freeze. To avoid this problem, it is essential to replace air filters regularly, at least once every three months. However, if you use your AC unit more often or have pets, you may need to replace air filters more frequently.

2. Clean the Evaporator Coils

Dirt and debris can accumulate on the evaporator coils, causing them to freeze. Cleaning the coils regularly is an effective way to avoid this problem. You can use a soft-bristled brush to clean the coils gently and remove any dirt or debris. Alternatively, you can hire a professional cleaner to do the job for you.

3. Keep the Condenser Unit Clean and Clear

The condenser unit is the part of the AC unit that sits outside your home. It is designed to release heat from indoors to the outdoors. However, if the unit is dirty or blocked, it can cause the refrigerant to build up and eventually lead to a frozen unit. To prevent this, make sure the unit is clear of debris, such as leaves, twigs, or other objects. You can use a brush or vacuum cleaner to remove any dirt or debris.

Taking these preventative measures can help avoid a frozen AC unit, but sometimes things can still go wrong. If your AC unit freezes up despite your maintenance efforts, it may be time to call in a professional for repairs.

5. Troubleshooting: When to Call a Professional for Frozen AC Repairs

If you’ve followed the immediate steps and proper techniques for thawing out your frozen AC unit but are still experiencing issues, it might be time to call in professional help. Here are some tell-tale signs that it’s time to reach out to a licensed HVAC technician for repairs:

Sign #1: You hear strange noises from your AC unit

If you hear any rattling, grinding, or squeaking sounds coming from your AC unit, it could be a sign of a more significant issue. This may be caused by loose parts or debris that has gotten caught in the fan. Attempting to fix this on your own could result in serious injury, so it’s best to call a pro to assess the situation.

Sign #2: Your AC unit continues to freeze even after thawing

If you’ve properly thawed out your AC unit, but it continues to freeze up, there may be deeper issues that require the expertise of a professional HVAC technician. A persistent issue could indicate problems with your refrigerant lines, air filter, or even the thermostat. Don’t hesitate to call in a pro to diagnose and fix the issue before it gets worse.

Sign #3: You’re experiencing electrical issues

If you see sparks or experience any electrical issues whilst dealing with your frozen AC unit, turn off the power immediately and contact a professional. Electrical problems can be incredibly dangerous and require training and experience to handle safely. Don’t risk putting yourself or your home in jeopardy.

In summary, there are times when a professional’s touch is necessary to repair your frozen AC unit. Attempting to fix these complicated issues on your own can result in personal injury and damage to your unit. So, when in doubt, call a licensed HVAC technician to diagnose and fix the problem safely and effectively.

6. Upgrading Your AC System: Is it Time for a New Unit?

Upgrading your AC system may be a necessary solution if your current unit is old, inefficient, or beyond repair. It can be a significant investment, but the benefits of a new AC unit can ultimately save you money in energy bills and repairs.

Signs that You Need to Upgrade Your AC Unit

If you’re experiencing frequent breakdowns and costly repairs on your current AC unit, it may be time for an upgrade. Additionally, if your AC unit is more than 10 years old, it’s likely less energy efficient than newer models. Old units may struggle to cool your home effectively and efficiently, resulting in higher energy bills.

Look for indicators that your AC unit is struggling, including noisy operation, uneven cooling throughout your home, and a rise in indoor humidity levels. If you’re unsure if an upgrade is necessary, consult with a professional HVAC technician to assess your unit’s condition and efficiency.

Benefits of Upgrading Your AC System

Upgrading your AC system can result in significant benefits for both your comfort and your wallet. Newer units are more energy-efficient, meaning they can cool your home effectively while using less energy. The result is a lower energy bill and a more comfortable home.

Additionally, new AC units come with advanced features such as programmable thermostats and air purifiers that can improve your indoor air quality and comfort. Upgrading to a newer unit can also prevent costly repairs and breakdowns, giving you peace of mind throughout the summer months.

When considering an AC upgrade, consult with a professional technician to determine the best unit for your home’s size and cooling needs. Shopping around for the best deals on new units can also help you make a cost-effective choice.

7. Cost-Effective Solutions: Repairing or Replacing Your Frozen AC Unit

If you’ve identified a frozen AC unit in your home or business, you may be wondering about cost-effective solutions to get it up and running again. Here are some options to consider:

1. Repairing Your Frozen AC Unit

Depending on the severity and cause of the freezing, repairing your current AC unit may be possible. Common issues that can be fixed include low refrigerant levels, dirty air filters, or damaged coils. It’s important to note that DIY repairs can be dangerous and cause further damage, so it’s best to consult with a professional HVAC technician to assess the problem and provide a solution.

Cost: Repair costs for a frozen AC unit can vary depending on the extent of the damage and the necessary repairs. On average, homeowners can expect to pay between $150 and $500 for a repair.

2. Replacing Your Frozen AC Unit

If your AC unit is outdated, damaged beyond repair, or you’re experiencing ongoing issues with freezing, it may be time to replace your system. Look for energy-efficient models with high SEER ratings to help save on energy costs in the long run.

Cost: The cost of a new AC unit can vary widely based on the size of your space, the brand and model, and installation costs. On average, homeowners can expect to pay between $3,000 and $8,000 for a new system.

It’s important to weigh the costs and benefits of repairing versus replacing your frozen AC unit. Consulting with a professional will help you make the best decision for your home or business.

People Also Ask

What Causes an Air Conditioner to Freeze Up?

There are several reasons why an air conditioner may freeze up: low refrigerant levels, dirty air filters, blocked airflow, and faulty thermostats. Addressing these issues can help prevent your AC from freezing up.

How can you Unfreeze an Air Conditioner?

To unfreeze your air conditioner, turn off the unit and let it thaw for several hours. Clean or replace dirty air filters and check for any issues with the refrigerant levels or airflow. If the problem persists, call in a professional for assistance.

Can you Run Air Conditioner When It’s Frozen?

No, you should not run your air conditioner when it is frozen. Doing so can cause further damage to the unit and may require costly repairs. It’s best to turn off the AC and let it thaw before addressing any issues.

How Long Does It Take for an Air Conditioner to Unfreeze?

The amount of time it takes for an air conditioner to unfreeze varies depending on the severity of the freeze and the outdoor temperature. In general, it can take anywhere from several hours to a full day for the unit to thaw completely.

What Should You Do If Your AC Continues to Freeze Up?

If your AC continues to freeze up, despite your best efforts to address the issue, it’s time to call in a professional HVAC technician. They can diagnose the underlying problem and recommend the best course of action to fix it.


A frozen air conditioner can be frustrating, but with some basic troubleshooting, it can often be fixed. Keeping up with regular maintenance, such as changing air filters and cleaning coils, can help prevent freezing from occurring in the first place. If the problem persists, it’s best to call in a professional for help in diagnosing and fixing the issue.