View our Service Area

Air Conditioners and Icicles Don’t Mix

Aug. 02, 2012

Believe it or not, even during the hottest summer on record, ice can form outside…unfortunately, it’s on your air conditioner. Knowing the causes of a frozen air conditioner and when to call a repairman can keep you from experiencing the wrong kind of cool afternoon breeze.

An air conditioner that accumulates ice and frost most likely has one of these problems:

  • Inadequate or blocked air flow. If your system’s evaporator coil is not getting enough air flowing around it, its temperature will drop below freezing. Then, any humidity in the air settles on the coil and turns into ice or frost.  Causes of unsatisfactory air flow include dirty air filters, ducts that are blocked or undersized, blower motor malfunction, and dirt on the evaporator coil. 
  • Refrigerant issues. The level of refrigerant in your system is critical to its proper operation. If the refrigerant level is not high enough, such as may be the case if there is a leak present, the evaporator coil’s pressure drops enough that any moisture in the air can settle and freeze on the coil.
  • Low outdoor temperature.  We are not too many weeks from overnight temperatures below 60 degrees, even when it’s hot during the day. If an air conditioner is running when the air temperature is below 60 degrees, it can cause the system to freeze. Of course, by the time it cools off to 60 degrees, most of us will turn off our air conditioners, so this is not a common occurrence.

If you notice that your system isn’t cooling properly, check the evaporator immediately for any frost or ice buildup. The evaporator coil is typically located directly above the furnace. If the ice is left to accumulate it can leak expensive refrigerant as well as cause serious, permanent damage to your system.

If you see ice or frost:

  1. Turn off your air conditioner immediately. 
  2. Allow it to completely defrost, up to 24 hours.
  3. Clean or replace air filters.
  4. Check for any other visible obstructions or dirt.
  5. Turn your system back on.

If your system does not freeze again, you have solved the problem.  Now, simply remember to keep your filters clean by changing them monthly, keep any other airflow obstructions away from your air conditioner and contact your heating and cooling company to maintain your system on a regular basis.

If, however, your system freezes up again, your problem has not been fixed.  You may have a refrigerant leak or the ductwork in your house may be the culprit.  It’s time to call a professional to diagnose and repair your issues.

Frozen air conditioners are not a common occurrence, but they can happen if an air conditioner is not maintained correctly. With a few simple precautions, you can keep your air conditioner from freezing and ensure it will keep you cool all year long.

Bookmark and Share
Looking for a career?
View Available Positions
Looking for a career?
View Available Positions

Contact Us

Thornton & Grooms
24565 Hallwood Ct
Farmington Hills, MI 48335
(248) 644-7810
MI Plumbing Lic. #: 8106666
MI Contractors Lic. #: 7100232
View service area

Follow us on our social networks for special updates and offers!

Hearts and Heroes

Hearts & Heroes

Help Thornton and Grooms Give Back to the Community With Your Vote! Cast your vote for your favorite charity to give them a chance at a $1000 donation from Thornton and Grooms.

Hearts and Heroes Past Winners ButtonHearts and Heroes Nominate Button