Frozen Evaporator Coil: Causes And Steps To Thaw And Repair


One of the more unexpected problems a homeowner can face with their HVAC system is discovering their evaporator coil has frozen. This key component, responsible for absorbing heat from the air, can sometimes become encased in ice, leading to inefficiencies and potential long-term damage. Understanding why this happens and knowing the steps to address the issue can save you discomfort, money, and time.

Why Does the Evaporator Coil Freeze?

There are a few common reasons why an evaporator coil might freeze. One of the most frequent causes is restricted airflow. When the air can't circulate properly around the coil due to a clogged filter or malfunctioning fan, the temperature can drop, leading to the coil freezing. Another culprit can be a refrigerant leak, which can reduce the coil's temperature, again causing it to freeze. 

Lastly, using your AC unit during cooler temperatures can also lead to freezing. Many systems are not designed to function efficiently in cooler conditions, especially when the outside temperature drops below 60°F.

Steps to Thaw and Repair

There are a few steps that you must take to thaw and repair your evaporator coil. 

  1. Turn Off Your System: The first step in addressing a frozen coil is to turn off your HVAC system. Continuing to run the system can lead to further damage.
  2. Inspect Air Filters: Check if your air filters are dirty or clogged. A clogged filter can restrict airflow, leading to the coil freezing. If they're dirty, replace or clean them as necessary.
  3. Adjust Thermostat: Switch the thermostat to the 'fan' setting. This will help circulate air and expedite the thawing process. However, ensure the 'cool' mode is turned off.
  4. Inspect Drain Pan and Drain Line: As the coil thaws, water will drip into the drain pan. Make sure this pan isn't overflowing and that the drain line is clear to prevent water damage.
  5. Check for Refrigerant Leaks: If the airflow is not an issue, there might be a refrigerant leak causing the freeze. This is a more complex issue and typically requires a professional technician to repair.
  6. Restart System: Once you're sure the coil is fully thawed and any issues have been addressed, restart your system. If the coil begins to freeze again or the system isn't cooling properly, it's time to call a professional.

Remember, while you can handle minor issues like a dirty filter on your own, some problems, especially those related to refrigerants or mechanical malfunctions, require expertise. Regular maintenance checks can help in the early detection of issues and prevent situations like a frozen evaporator coil.

Contact a local air conditioning company to learn more. 


12 September 2023

Inspecting Your Air Ducts

Last summer, I began to get extremely hot in my home. My air conditioning system couldn’t adequately keep my home cool anymore. Therefore, I contacted an experienced HVAC contractor. This individual visited my home and thoroughly inspected my unit. If your air conditioner isn’t working like it once did, your air ducts may be clogged up. Thankfully, an expert HVAC contractor can determine if faulty air ducts are the cause of the hot temperatures inside your home. On this blog, you will discover how an HVAC contractor can properly inspect your air ducts. Stay cool and comfortable during the hot summer months!