How to Deal with AC Units That Keep Freezing



A Breath of Fresh Air: Troubleshooting a Non-Responsive AC Unit

The scorching summer sun beating down, and your AC unit refuses to budge? Don’t fret, there’s a chance you can fix it yourself before resorting to calling a professional. Here’s a guide to help you troubleshoot a non-responsive AC unit and get that cool air flowing again.

Safety First!

Before diving in, ensure your safety. Always turn off the power to your AC unit heat pump installers at the breaker box before attempting any electrical troubleshooting.

Simple Checks: The Big Three

  1. Thermostat Shenanigans: It might seem obvious, but double-check your thermostat settings. Ensure it’s set to “cool” mode and the desired temperature is lower than the current room temperature. If your thermostat uses batteries, replace them with fresh ones to rule out a power issue.

  2. Circuit Breaker Blues: A tripped circuit breaker is a common culprit for a non-functioning AC unit. Locate your breaker box, usually in the garage or basement. Identify the breaker labeled for your AC unit and check if it’s switched to the “off” position. If it’s tripped, carefully flip the switch back to “on.” However, if the breaker trips again immediately, there might be a more serious electrical issue, and it’s best to call a professional.

  3. Power Play: Modern AC units often have an indoor shut-off switch located near the thermostat or the air handler unit. Ensure this switch is set to “on.” Additionally, some outdoor units have a disconnect switch that might be accidentally switched off. Check both locations and turn the switches on if necessary.

Digging Deeper: Potential Causes and Solutions

If the basic checks don’t solve the problem, here are some other common causes and solutions you can explore:

  1. Clogged Air Filter: A dirty air filter restricts airflow and can prevent the AC unit from functioning properly. Replace the air filter with a clean one, following the manufacturer’s recommendations for replacement frequency.

  2. Frozen Coils: If your AC unit has been running excessively in very humid conditions, the evaporator coil might develop ice buildup. Turn off the unit and let the ice melt naturally. Do not try to force-thaw the coils with hot water, as this can damage them. Once thawed, check for proper drainage and airflow.

  3. Low Refrigerant Levels: Low refrigerant levels can lead to decreased cooling efficiency and eventually cause the unit to shut down. Adding refrigerant is a job for a qualified HVAC technician, as it requires specialized tools and knowledge of safe handling procedures.

  4. Faulty Thermostat: If the thermostat malfunctions, it might send incorrect signals to the AC unit. Try replacing the thermostat batteries first. If the issue persists, consider replacing the thermostat itself. Opt for a programmable thermostat for better energy efficiency in the long run.

  5. Broken Fan Motor: The indoor or outdoor fan motors might malfunction and prevent proper air circulation. If you hear unusual noises coming from the unit, this could be a sign of a failing fan motor. Replacing a fan motor can be a complex task, and consulting a professional is recommended.

  6. Sensor Issues: Various sensors monitor temperature, pressure, and airflow within the AC unit. A faulty sensor can send incorrect readings and disrupt the unit’s operation. While some sensor replacements might be DIY-friendly, some require a technician’s expertise.

When to Call a Professional

If you’ve tried the troubleshooting steps mentioned above and your AC unit remains unresponsive, it’s time to call a professional HVAC technician. Here are some signs that indicate professional help is needed:

  • You’re uncomfortable working with electrical components.
  • The problem seems complex and requires specialized tools or knowledge.
  • You suspect a refrigerant leak.
  • The unit makes loud noises or produces a burning smell.

Preventative Maintenance is Key

Regular maintenance can help prevent future AC woes. Schedule annual checkups with an HVAC technician for professional cleaning, inspection, and tune-up. Remember to replace air filters regularly to maintain optimal airflow.

By following these tips and taking a proactive approach to maintenance, you can keep your AC unit running smoothly and ensure a cool and comfortable home environment throughout the summer season.

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