An iced over air conditioner can be a sign of a bigger problem, so it's important to pinpoint the cause and fix it as soon as possible. If your AC keeps freezing up, it's not performing at maximum efficiency, which can lead to decreased cooling and increased energy costs. Here are some steps that may fix the problem:
Step 1: Turn It Off
If your unit is icing up, turn it off immediately. Continuing to run a frozen AC can damage the motor and compressor, burning them out so you need a full replacement. After the unit is off, let it thaw out completely before checking for the cause. Depending on how badly the unit has frozen, this can take several hours.
Step 2: Change the Filter
One of the main causes of a frozen unit is also the easiest to repair. Blocked airflow into the unit can cause icing. Remove the cover from the external unit and make sure no leaves or other debris is blocking the vents.
Don't forget the AC filter inside your home. Change and replace the filter to improve airflow into the unit. If your unit has a reusable filter, vacuum it clean. Filters should be cleaned or replaced monthly during the summer cooling season.
Step 3: Monitor the Temperature
A major temperature drop outside can cause your AC unit to freeze up. Simply turning off the unit when the outdoor temperature is lower than the desired indoor temperature may solve the problem.
Thermostat problems indoors can also lead to a frozen AC. It may give an inaccurate temperature reading or it may fail to shut the AC off or on at the correct time. Call to have your thermostat checked or replaced if it doesn't seem to be working properly.
Step 4: Check for Leaks
AC units require a refrigerant, usually freon, to create cold air. A drop in the coolant level can cause the unit to ice over as it struggles to cool your home. If you see visible leaks from any of the copper coolant lines, call for service immediately. It's difficult to check coolant levels on your own, but your repairman can quickly check the level, find and repair any leaks, and recharge your unit so it works like new again.
A quick fix now can save you the hassle of a full replacement later. Most problems that cause an AC unit to freeze up are easily fixed if they are caught early enough.