air conditioning freezing up and what you can do about it

One Hot Problem

An air conditioner freezing up can really put a dent in your budget or your emergency savings, not to mention make for a horribly uncomfortable summer. There are certain things you can do to solve the problem without having to dip too far into your wallet.

Not knowing what to do in the event of an air conditioner that keeps freezing up could cost you a ton in the long run. You need to assess the problem that caused your air conditioner to freeze up quickly and then manage solutions based on your budget and level of expertise. Then, after assessing the problem and fixing it, make plans and a budget for buying a new unit so you’ll be prepared when you do eventually have to replace your unit could save you a lot of stress in the long term.

Below are five choices for air conditioners.

Quality Air Conditioners

List price$149.99$239.99$262.95$309.99$422.81





NameFrigidaire FFRA0511R1 5, 000 BTU 115V Window-Mounted Mini-Compact Air Conditioner with Mechanical Controls
Frigidaire FFRE0833Q1 8,000 BTU 115V Window-Mounted Mini-Compact Air Conditioner with Temperature Sensing Remote Control
LG Electronics LW8014ER Energy Star 115-volt Window-Mounted Air Conditioner with Remote Control, 8000 BTU
Frigidaire FFRL0633Q1 6,000 BTU 115V Window-Mounted Low Profile Air Conditioner with Full-Function Remote Control
LG LW1215ER 12,000 BTU 115V Slide In-Out Chassis Air Conditioner with Remote Control
ManufacturerFrigidaireFrigidaireLGFrigidaireLG
Product Dimensions15 x 16 x 12 inches15.5 x 18.5 x 13.4 inches19.4 x 19.6 x 12.4 inches18 x 23.6 x 12.2 inches22.2 x 23.6 x 15 inches
Shipping Weight48 pounds47 pounds61.7 pounds49 pounds92.8 pounds
ASINB00W2KG92YB00IV3IOISB00JKJ1UGUB00IYQYN82B00V3IYKYU
Item Model NumberFFRA0511R1FFRE0833Q1LW8014ERFRIGACFFRL0633Q1LW1215ER
Customer ratings4 out of 5 stars3.9 out of 5 stars3.9 out of 5 stars3.8 out of 5 stars4.3 out of 5 stars


Why is my air conditioner freezing up?

The first thing you need to do once your air conditioner freezes up is figure out what precisely is causing the problem. According to Angie’s List, ASM Air, Horizon Services, Inc., Bryd Heating and Air, and Doug’s,  there are a few reasons why your air conditioner is having a malfunction:

  • Blocked air flow
  • Refrigerant Leaks
  • The Joule Thomson Effect
  • Outdoor temperature
  • Closed supply registers
  • Drainage problems
  • Improper installation
  • Malfunctioning fan
  • Nighttime use

Blocked Air Flow

If you’re having problems with your air conditioner freezing up, it may be due to a dirty air filter. If no air is blowing through, then your air conditioner won’t be able to do its job to cool down your house.  Making sure this is clear and free of dust and other particles that can prevent air flow usually solves this problem.

Refrigerant leaks

Unfortunately, this is the “engine” version of an air conditioner.  If your refrigerant is leaking, you will probably have to replace the unit.   

The Joule-Thomson Effect

This effect is a theory in thermodynamics that states if all other variables remain constant, then as gas expands and its pressure decreases its temperature will also decrease, according to Tim of ASM.

This is how an air conditioner works, the evaporator coil expands the refrigerant inside it causing the coil to cool rapidly. Once the cooled coil comes into contact with the air in your home, it cools it down and repeats the cycle while cooling your home.

Outdoor temperature

According to Horizon Services, air conditioners do not do well in low temperatures that are below 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

Closed supply registers

This deals with the vents you keep open and closed. You should never have no more than one-quarter of your house’s air vents closed. If you have too many air vents closed, that could put a strain on air flow and a strain on your wallet when you have to get your air conditioner fixed.

Drainage problems

The evaporator coil removes heat and moisture from the air before cooling your home. The air conditioner condenses a lot of vapor into condensation that many not be properly draining outside and the collected condensate could be causing the issue..

Improper installation

The proper way for your air conditioner to be installed is to be tilted slightly so the part that goes indoors is a little higher than the part that goes on the outside. If this doesn’t happen, then water can’t exit which will lead to a collection of water and your air conditioner freezing up.

Malfunctioning fan

Just check the speed of the fan to ensure that it’s going fast enough (high speed) so the air conditioner won’t freeze up.

Nighttime use

Don’t let the conditioner run all night because it will waste energy, money, and also be at more of a risk of freezing up in the future.

I know my problem, how do I fix it?

Now that you have an idea of why your air conditioner is freezing up, there are some solutions to get your home cooled again in no time. Once you see that the airflow from the air conditioner is minimal, you should take these steps, according to Doug’s:

  • Turn off the air conditioner.
  • Make sure your window unit is tilted downward so the melting ice will drip on the ground instead of in your home.
  • If you can reach the air conditioner, make sure the drain hole isn’t being blocked by anything.
  • Run the air conditioner’s compressor fan to expedite the thawing process.
  • Consider removing water with a shop vacuum.
  • After taking these steps, you should be able to turn on your air conditioner on and it should work properly.
  • Also keep a close eye on it in case it happens again.

There are also preventative measures to make sure you lower the risk of your air conditioner freezing up, according to Byrd Heating and Air:

  • Check refrigerant levels
  • Change the air filter monthly
  • Keep at least more than one-quarter of all the vents open
  • Have the fan speed increased
  • Have the thermostat checked
  • Inspect the condensate drain weekly
  • Make sure your unit is installed properly

Cool Down

Now that you know how your air conditioner cools your home, the problems that could cause an air conditioner freezing up, and the solutions to allow you time to prepare yourself for making a new purchase, you’re equipped to become handy and resourceful and wise about your air conditioner.