Why Your AC Freezes Up and What To Do

Becca Stokes
Written by Becca Stokes
Updated July 22, 2021
Air compressor on a wall on a sunny day
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Here are 3 reasons your AC might be freezing up and how you can fix it fast

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The last thing you want to be thinking about on a hot summer’s day is why your air conditioning is frozen. But don’t worry if that’s the position you’re in now. Here are the three most common reasons your AC is freezing up. Plus, we’ll talk you through how to remove that ice, not to mention letting you know when it’s time to bring in a professional or buy a new machine.

Leaking Coolant

To make the air in your home cool, every AC uses a coolant. If it starts leaking, this can freeze up your air conditioner because the remaining substance condenses and freezes. While air conditioning professionals can temporarily fix the leak and top off your coolant, it’s time to start budgeting for a replacement.

The Solution

Sadly, an air conditioner that is leaking coolant is an air conditioner that needs to be replaced. It can last you through perhaps one hot summer if you’re in a bind, but expect to pour more money into repairs and extra coolant.

Blocked Air Flow

A hand checks the ac’s airflow
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When your air conditioner can’t pull air through the unit, condensation can build up and then freeze, leaving you out of luck on those sweltering days. Luckily, this is one of the easiest problems to solve, and an ounce of prevention goes a long way to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

The Solution

To get the air moving through your air conditioner again and get that ice gone for good, you’ll need to start by cleaning out the AC’s filter. Consult your manual (or look online) if you aren’t sure where to locate the filter on your unit, but they’re usually in the front panel. Once the filter is cleaned, set reminders to clean it monthly during the hotter months. If you plan on keeping your AC healthy and well, going forward, look for an air conditioning professional in your area to give your air conditioning a checkup every 6 to 12 months. The average cost of having your air conditioning tuned up is between $75 and $200.

Faulty Drainage

For your air conditioner to work like a champ and keep you cool on the hottest summer days, the vapor inside the machine needs a way out. When it doesn’t escape, it can freeze inside the machine—which means a frozen air conditioner and an overheated homeowner. That’s why good drainage is critical.

The Solution

Locate where your AC is draining to and make sure the pathway is clean. Often, outdoor debris like trash or fallen leaves and branches can block the path of the drainage. It can be as simple as pulling the debris out of the drainage and then warming your AC with a hairdryer to get you back in business when this is a problem.

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