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How To Unfreeze AC Coils in 7 Steps

Cassie Pound, owner of Quality Heating, Cooling, Plumbing & Electric
Published by
Cassie Pound
January 10, 2023

When summertime strikes, homeowners everywhere turn to their air conditioners to cool their homes. Unfortunately, without working air conditioning, your home’s temperature may become hot, uncomfortable, and even unsafe for some family members. 

A frozen evaporator coil often becomes a common problem that affects air conditioning units that may prevent your air from working correctly. Continue reading to explore how to unfreeze AC coils. When in doubt, call a professional HVAC technician like Tulsa’s heating and cooling professionals at Quality Heating Cooling & Plumbing to fix your frozen AC coil and complete the necessary maintenance. 

What Is an AC Coil?

An AC or evaporator coil refers to a component of your air conditioner that carries refrigerant. This refrigerant absorbs heat before moving on to the next part of the AC system. When the evaporator coil freezes, it can no longer cool off the air that blows throughout your home.

Signs You Have a Frozen Evaporator Coil

If you suspect you might have frozen coils in your AC unit, you can learn the specific signs to help identify this problem. Below we offer a comprehensive list of these signs.

  • AC runs but never cools your home
  • Warm air blowing instead of cold
  • Ice buildup around the coil
  • The thermostat temperature doesn’t match the indoor temperature 
  • Frozen lines and ice buildup near outdoor units
  • Flooding near drain pan

If you experience any of these issues with your indoor or outdoor AC units, it may indicate a frozen evaporator coil that requires professional and trained HVAC technicians.

What Are the Dangers of Frozen Coils?

The most significant danger of frozen evaporator coils occurs if you keep running your AC unit. Then you may cause permanent damage to your entire air conditioning system. 

In addition, when you neglect giving attention and learning how to unfreeze AC coils, you may overheat your system, causing potential refrigerant leaks and damage to other components. To best prevent any damage to your HVAC unit, enlist professional expertise. This way, your system works appropriately, saving you on costly repairs you may encounter if you neglect your unit.

Follow These Steps 

When you’re ready to figure out how to fix a frozen evaporator coil, keep these seven essential tips in mind.

1. Turn Off the AC Unit

First and foremost, if you suspect a frozen AC coil, turn off your AC system. You need to switch the unit off to continue any work or inspections. Doing so also prevents damage to any part of the air conditioning system.

2. Let It Sit

After turning off your AC unit, you want to see if your evaporator coil begins to defrost on its own. Sometimes, if you wait around 24 hours, your frozen coil thaws. However, thawing it naturally can only happen if the weather is temperate and air conditioning isn’t necessary. 

3. Check Filters

One important thing to check before further exploring the cause of a frozen AC coil concerns your air filter. The air filter’s job is to remove particles like dust, dander, allergens, and mold from the air. 

However, as the filter does its job, it may clog, preventing proper airflow through your AC unit. In addition, blockages in the flow hinder the free flow of warm air, causing ice on various areas of your air conditioner.

4. Switch On the Fan

The next step involves switching on your air conditioner’s fan. You’ll want to turn on the fan-only setting. You must ensure the cool setting stays off, but the fan is on. This forces warm air over the evaporator coils, which may thaw the coils.

5. Use a Hair Dryer

If the fan doesn’t work, you can manually defrost your AC coils using a hair dryer. If you use a hair dryer, you must be careful not to use the high setting. When you use the high setting on your frozen coil, you run the risk of cracking the coil. 

Instead, slowly use the hair dryer in a low to medium heat setting. Also, make sure to keep a decent distance and avoid direct contact. Most of the time, your frozen AC coils thaw out within twenty minutes. 

6. Let Coils Dry

Once the evaporator coils are no longer frozen, you should let them dry completely before turning on your air conditioner. Ensuring they’re dry allows you to have further inspections completed and assess why your coils froze in the first place. 

Plus, letting the AC coils dry prevents more ice buildup once turned back on. To best dry off the coils, turn on the fan setting to remove excess moisture from the area.

7. Clean the Coils 

Air conditioners need clean evaporator coils, so once they’re dry, you can clean them. But first, ensure you clean the area around the outdoor unit. Cleaning your evaporator coils and air conditioning unit works best if left to professionals and makes the final step to ensuring a well-functioning AC unit all summer long. 

When in Doubt, Always Choose HVAC Professionals

Air conditioning units have many complicated parts that require the attention of professional air conditioning experts. And, when the weather becomes hot and unbearable, it’s even more critical that you have experts that can address the problem quickly, so you have correctly functioning air conditioning.

Instead of tackling your frozen coils or AC maintenance alone, hire the help of a full-service air conditioning team that completes AC maintenance, repairs, installations, and various heating and cooling solutions. At Quality Heating, Cooling & Plumbing, we guarantee all this and more. However, while these seven tips help you learn how to prevent your air conditioner from freezing up, you may still need to figure out how to treat problems with your air conditioner unit and frozen evaporator coils.

So, if you still don’t know how to unfreeze AC coils and prefer reliable help, it’s best to call HVAC professionals. Call Quality Heating, Cooling & Plumbing today at (918) 212-0122 for expert air conditioning services in Tulsa, OK!

Cassie Pound, owner of Quality Heating, Cooling, Plumbing & Electric
Published by
Cassie Pound

Cassie Pound is the Vice President of Quality Heating, Cooling, Plumbing & Electric with locations in Tulsa, Glenpool, and Bartlesville, Oklahoma.