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How To Unfreeze An Air Conditioner

By February 4, 2022Air conditioner
Frozen ac unit

Coming home from a long and hot day at work and you just want to cool down. So, you go to the thermostat and adjust the temperature so that the air conditioning unit kicks on. You hear the unit start-up and begin to get excited as you await to cold air flowing into the room. However, unfortunately, after a few minutes, you don’t feel the cold air at all and you place your hand in front of the vent to see what air is coming into the room. It isn’t cold, so now what? Is the air conditioning unit frozen? How to unfreeze an air conditioner? You will need to shut off the air conditioner. Then, follow the steps given below or by your ac service company.

Let’s take a look below at the best ways to unfreeze an air conditioning unit.

Frozen AC unit outside

How Can It Happen

There are some obvious signs with regards to your air conditioning unit freezing. Let’s review:

  • Ice buildup on the ac unit itself (try removing the filter, and look upwards towards the coils, you should see ice)
  • Cold air is not really blowing through the home as it usually does
  • Put your hand in front of the vent and it’s blowing warm air instead of cold air.
  • You might also hear a hissing sound coming from the unit.
  • Immediately follow the steps below to shut down the unit.

How Do I Fix It

The best way to unfreeze your frozen air conditioner is as follows:

  1. First, make sure that you turn the thermostat OFF.
  2. Next, place towels around the air handler to prevent water damage from thawed ice.
  3. Next, you will turn the fan setting on.
  4. Make sure that you check the air filter and it has been changed regularly. If you have a dirty air filter, replace it.
  5. Call a professional air conditioning technician before turning the AC back on.
  6. Allow the AC unit to thaw while you await the air conditioning technician.

You will also want to clean the drain line and double-check the air ductwork to make sure it hasn’t collapsed for some reason. Doing this can save you money on repairs of the air conditioning unit.

Frozen ac pipe

Areas To Check

Here are some of the most typical areas to check on the air conditioner unit as you await your local professional HVAC contractor.

  • Overflowing drain pan
  • Clogged condensate drain
  • Refrigerant leak
  • Frozen outdoor unit
  • Frozen compressor
  • Ice on your inside unit or outside unit
  • Clogged air filter
  • Broken evaporator coil
  • Broken fan on the outdoor unit

Check the age of the air conditioner unit. They usually last about 10-17 years but it also depends if the house it is in is near the coast or a lot of chemicals are used in the home. Both of these can shorten the life of the unit.

How Much Does It Cost

The basics for unfreezing your air conditioning unit start with unclogging the drain line. This can run you $75 to $250 depending upon the extent of the clog in the line. Getting the mold and mildew out of the drain line is hugely important. If the freezing of your air conditioner causes your compressor to be damaged, it could cost you $150 to $250 more to replace the compressor in the air conditioner unit.

Other Recommended Maintenance

While you are working to unfreeze your air conditioner, you might want to also check out the unit for other issues. Consider learning about what to do if you see leaks of water coming from the air handler.

As with anything, you need to maintain the unit. Springtime is the best time of the year to conduct maintenance such as replacing the filter and cleaning the unit.

Lastly, if you notice the air from the unit is weak or has no airflow, the electric bill is higher, strange sounds, or overheating, then the blower motor is bad and needs fixing.

Professional fixing air conditioner unit.

When Should I Call A Professional

Anytime you are dealing with an air conditioning unit, you should call on a professionally licensed HVAC contractor. There are parts and pieces of an air conditioner that you might not understand. Rather than damaging the unit, it is a great idea to reach out to the professionals. Sure, you might be able to help unfreeze the ac unit, but you would want a professional to follow up and ensure that no parts are damaged.

Call on your local home inspection team as well. They can conduct a full home inspection and give you other recommended projects to save you time and money. Additionally, they can provide a list of reputable HVAC companies and their contractors to help assist you with your air conditioning unit.


At the end of the day, getting it right with your air conditioning unit is important. Making sure that you have yearly maintenance on your HVAC unit is vital to its longevity. Also, calling on your local professional air conditioning service contractor is necessary to maintain a successful air conditioning unit.

In order to ensure that you have contacted the right air conditioning service company, reach out to your local home inspection team for some great recommendations. Call on All Coast Home Inspections for a home inspection in Houston, TX. They can refer you to the most reputable contractors and service companies in the field.

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