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If You Have a Frozen AC Unit in the Winter: What You Need To Do

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A home’s air conditioning system (AC) is an essential and costly component. Keeping your AC in optimal working condition can prevent small issues from becoming expensive repairs. It’s important to schedule routine AC maintenance with a licensed HVAC technician.

At S&L Air Conditioning and Heating LLC, we provide Bowie, MD’s air conditioning installation services and maintenance. Routine service can prevent problems such as a frozen AC unit in winter. In this article, we discuss what to do if your AC unit freezes. 

Common Causes of Frozen AC Units in the Winter

1. Dirty Evaporator Coil

Dirt and debris on the evaporator coil can obstruct the heat exchange process. A dirty coil can cause ice to accumulate. When the coil cannot absorb heat, condensation and cold temperatures can freeze your AC unit. 

2. Low Refrigerant 

A low refrigerant level can cause your AC to freeze. The pressure inside the AC unit will drop when there isn’t enough refrigerant. As a result, the temperature inside will drop, and water vapor will freeze upon contact with the evaporator coil. 

3. Low Airflow

An air conditioning system must have adequate airflow to run efficiently. System malfunctions can cause insufficient airflow, including blocked air ducts, blower damage, and dirty filters. Poor airflow prevents warm air from flowing over the evaporator coil, leading to a frozen AC unit.

Try These Tips Before Calling an HVAC Company

If your AC unit has frozen, you can try performing a few troubleshooting steps. Start by turning off the AC and allowing it to defrost, which can take up to 24 hours. Then, follow these tips to have your system back up and running. 

1. Replace Dirty Air Filters

Since low airflow can cause air conditioners to freeze, you should change air filters regularly. Air filters need replacement once every 30 to 60 days. Replacing your air filter will also improve the AC’s efficiency. 

2. Inspect the Blower 

A damaged or broken blower fan can result in ice formation. Signs of a faulty blower include unusual sounds during operation and reduced performance. Knowing what to look for can be difficult unless you know how air conditioners operate.

Call an HVAC technician to check your AC blower fan. A technician can inspect the blower motor and examine its rotational speed to prevent a frozen AC unit in winter.

3. Check the Vents

Check all the vents in your home and remove any blockages or obstructions. It’s advisable not to keep more than two to three supply vents closed at any time. Your AC unit may freeze if you restrict too much airflow.

4. Check for Refrigerant Leaks

A technician can ensure that your AC has optimal refrigerant levels. Low refrigerant levels can cause your AC unit to freeze. Call an HVAC professional if you suspect a refrigerant leak or mechanical problem.

5. Check the Condensate Drain

An AC system removes humidity from the air by directing moisture outside to a condensation drip tray. Regularly inspect the drain to ensure water does not overflow and cause the AC unit to freeze. If you find any obstructions in your drain line, you should remove them or hire a professional.

6. Don’t Run the AC in Winter

Air conditioners work optimally at certain temperature ranges. In cold weather, even a well-maintained air conditioner may not function properly. If you run the AC when the outside temperature is too cold, the pressure inside the system may drop, causing the AC to freeze. 

7. Automatic Defrost Mode

Modern ACs can automatically go into defrost mode when outside temperatures drop. Depending on the AC brand and the ambient temperature outside, the defrost cycle may take ten to 45 minutes. The defrost mode will remove any ice from the coil, so leave the system on and don’t change any settings. 

How Do I Prevent My AC From Freezing in the Winter?

Changing air filters and scheduling regular maintenance service is the easiest way to stop your AC from freezing. Preventive maintenance service involves inspecting the entire system, including outdoor coils, refrigerant levels, filters, etc. Our trained technicians will ensure that your indoor and outdoor units operate at peak performance.

Give Us a Call Today

Our experts at S&L Air Conditioning and Heating LLC specialize in AC maintenance services, installation, cleaning, and repair. Our technicians can inspect your system to prevent a frozen AC unit in winter—or anytime during the year.

Contact our team at S&L Air Conditioning and Heating LLC in Bowie, MD, today to book an appointment for AC service. Call us at (301) 804-0974.

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