Frozen AC Unit: How Long Does It Take To Unfreeze?
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How Long Does It Take To Unfreeze A Central AC Unit?

How Long Does It Take To Unfreeze A Central AC Unit?

Nearly every summer the number one service call Masters Heating & Cooling responds to in Fort Wayne, Decatur, Angola, Indianapolis, Greenwood, or Mishawaka, IN is a frozen AC unit. Ice can form on the outdoor coil or indoor cooling coil in the air handler. The very first thing we want to say about this situation is don’t ignore it. Continuing to run your central air conditioner when it is frozen can cause serious damage to the compressor. This can turn what is often a simple repair into a costly compressor replacement.

What To Do When It Happens

If you notice an ice buildup, this is what you should do immediately:

  • Turn the thermostat from cool to off. This will stop the cooling cycle and prevent damage to the compressor.
  • Turn the fan to the ‘on’ position so the fan is running continuously. This will blow warm air across the evaporator coil where the ice usually forms and speed up the melting process.
  • Now wait patiently. For some people this is the hardest step if their house is already hot and uncomfortable, but the problem can’t be fixed until the ice is melted. Depending on the size of the ice buildup this can take up to 24 hours.

Leading Causes

The most common reason an air conditioner freezes up is poor airflow. While the ice is thawing check your central air conditioner’s filter. If it is excessively dirty or clogged this could be the cause of poor airflow. You can replace the filter, wait for the ice to melt, and see if it happens again when you turn the unit back on.  If the filter doesn’t appear to be clogged, then something else is causing the problem and you should call Masters to schedule an appointment.

More Patience Is Required

It’s easy to get impatient, but our Masters technician can’t do anything with a frozen AC unit until the ice is melted. Only after that can the search begin for the cause of the problem. Other problems the technician will look for include:

  • Low refrigerant level caused by a leak
  • Dirt on the evaporator coil
  • A weak or bad blower motor
  • An expansion valve that is stuck or closed
  • Collapsed ductwork

An Ounce Of Prevention

Nearly all of the problems that cause a frozen AC unit can be prevented with regular maintenance. With summer arriving in Fort Wayne, Decatur, Angola, Indianapolis, Greenwood, and Mishawaka, IN your air conditioner tune-up should already be completed. If not, now is the time to call Masters Heating & Cooling to make an appointment. For more great information about central air conditioner maintenance be sure to like and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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