3 Steps For Dealing With A Frozen AC Coil

Posted on: 26 July 2023

Air conditioner coils expose the refrigerant to the surrounding air to facilitate heat exchange. The indoor coil absorbs heat from the house, and the outdoor coil dispels the heat. The heat exchange processes suffer if the coils freeze. Below are three things to do if you find ice or frost on the coils.

1. Turn Off the AC

Turn off the AC before taking any other step. For one, running an AC with frozen coils overworks the AC as it tries to cool the house. An overworked AC suffers accelerated wear and tear, which can damage some system parts, including the compressor motor.

Secondly, a frozen coil means something is wrong with the AC. Running the AC might worsen the underlying problem if you continue running the AC before diagnosing and fixing it. Lastly, you need to turn off the AC before working on it so you don't cause electrical damage or suffer electrical injury.

2. Thaw the Ice

Getting rid of the ice on the coils is the next step. Here are a couple of ways to do it:

  • Leave the AC off and encourage air circulation in the house, for example, by turning on the fan. This method is safe and effective but requires time, which you might not have in sweltering temperatures.
  • Use something, such as a hair dryer on low heat, to speed up the process. Hold the hair dryer away from the coil so you don't damage it.

Resist the urge to scrape ice off the coil; the coil is delicate, and the scraping might damage it. Also, remember the thawing will release considerable water into the AC's drainage system. Ensure the drainage system is clear to direct the water to safe disposal.

3. Diagnose and Fix the Issue

Thawing a frozen coil does not solve the underlying process. If you thaw the coil and restart the AC, the coil can just freeze again. Thus, you must identify and fix the cause of the freezing. Engage a professional in the diagnosis and service if you don't know what to do.

AC coils typically freeze due to inadequate airflow. The limited airflow means the coil cannot stay warm enough to prevent freezing. Causes of limited airflow include clogged air filters, blocked vents, low refrigerant, and mechanical failure, such as damage to the blower system.

DIY AC service is only advisable for those with relevant knowledge, experience, and tools. Otherwise, contact a professional contractor for diagnosis and AC repair.