How to Unfreeze an Air Conditioner- Easy Steps

The freezing of an air conditioner results from a lot of cold in the refrigerant that turns liquids to ice in the air conditioning system. Freezing of the air conditioner damages the compressor since the compressor works with gases only. Most air conditioners tend to freeze when running during cold temperatures. When you notice any signs like ice availability in the air conditions, you need to unfreeze the air conditioner.

Unfreezing air conditioners help reduce the air conditioning bills since it will consume less energy and it extends the lifespan of the air conditioner. It prevents regular repair to the air conditioning components that get damaged from freezing.

Steps to unfreeze an air conditioner

how to unfreeze an air conditioner
  • Switch on the thermostat from cooling

Switching off the thermostat prevents the air conditioning system from working as it makes the refrigerant receive cold that damages the compressor since compressors work with gases only.

  • Switch on the settings on the fan

Switching the fan on forces the air conditioning system to blow warm air into the compressor and coils, hence reducing the freezing ice on the system. Since the thermostat is off from cooling, the warm air the air conditioner is blowing in will remain warmer. The ice in the air conditioner then forces itself out in the water as it overflows through the overflowing drain pan as some water evaporates through the condensate drain pan.

  • Inspect the air filter

The air filter is the leading cause of an air conditioner freezing since dirty air or dusty air particles and leaves accumulate in the air filters. Check the air filters when you immediately switch off the thermostat because after some time, the ice in the air conditioner melts and flows to the air filter covering it, and you cannot quickly identify the errors with it. If you have any issue with the air filter, even if there is an accumulation of dust in the air filter, immediately replace the air filter.

  • Replace the air filter

After checking the air filters and finding some issues, let’s say it has a layer of accumulation of dust, do a replacement for the air filters since such issues prevent the air conditioner from blowing warm air. Remember to follow the manufacturer’s instructions on replacing air filters or call a professional to help you replace them. After replacing the air filter, switch on the air conditioner to run.

  • Contact a professional if the air filter is clean and lacks any problem

Since air conditioners can have different problems that make them freeze apart from air filters, call a technician to help check other issues. Technicians can check some parts that you are unable to inspect.

What shows that the air conditioner is freezing?

What shows that the air conditioner is freezing
  • Production of a hissing sound

When an air conditioner starts producing a hissing sound, it simply shows that the air conditioner struggles to work. Hissing sound results from the air that forces itself through the air filters in and out of the house because of a clogged air filter, which blocks air penetration.

  • Lack of cool air

The lack of cool and fresh air in the house clearly shows that the air conditioner might be freezing because it fails to blow in warm air and blow out cold air.

  • Availability of ice in the air conditioning system

When ice accumulates in some parts of the air conditioner, there is a high possibility that the air conditioner needs unfreezing. Ice mainly gets in the air conditioner since the compressor fails to evaporate the liquids that quickly turn into a solid.

Reasons that cause an air conditioner to freeze

Reasons that cause an air conditioner to freeze
  • Faulty ceiling fans

Ceiling fans work by enabling the circulation and exchange of cold air in the upper part of the house and the warm air in the lower part of the house. Therefore, when the ceiling fans have a problem, they will not perform air circulation properly, making the air conditioner work only in the house hence failing to produce the cold air.

  • Faulty thermostats

Faulty thermostats result from overusing the thermostats for a long period, making them lose connection to the air conditioner. Some thermostats are not compatible with the air conditioner since they are not programmable. Therefore when the thermostat is not working well with the air conditioner, it forces the air conditioner to carry out all activities alone, which sometimes causes it to provide faulty results.

  • Lower refrigerant level

Low refrigerant mainly occurs due to some leaks in the compressor. When the refrigerant is lower, the temperature and pressure are lower, too freezing the evaporator coil since the refrigerant works by evaporating liquids, hence causing the air around to freeze. Therefore, when the refrigerant is lower, the air conditioner tends to be warmer when it must be cold.

  • Dirty condenser coils

When dust accumulates in the condenser coils there will be no proper cooling in the house. Dusty condenser blocks the exchange of warm air and cold air in the air condenser. The dust in the condenser makes the air conditioner strain work making it warmer instead of being cold.

Frequently asked questions:

  • How long does it take to unfreeze an air conditioning system?

Unfreezing an air conditioner does not consume much time since it can take at least one hour to freeze or at most 24hrs to unfreeze. As long as the steps to unfreeze are well in use, it will be easy to unfreeze the air conditioner.

  • How long must the air filter take before replacement?

Air filters need regular checkups to decide if the air filter is in good condition for use or needs replacement. There is no exact time that you must take to replace. Replacement depends on the state of the air filter. If the air filter is dusty and after cleaning it is inaccurately working, it needs a replacement.


Unfreezing an air conditioner is a simple task that anyone can undertake as long as the manufacturer’s instructions are in use, and remember to follow the steps in this article for more information. Consider checking the air filters, as it is the most common source of freezing an air conditioner.

Moreover, keep the manufacturer’s manual carefully for further use when dealing with the air conditioner. Always contact a professional when the need arises, like in the case of replacing an air filter.

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