How to Deice an Air Conditioner


Ice can occur within air conditioning systems of all sizes and models, including window, central, portable and split system units. While ice can form for a variety of reasons, the main cause probably stems from condenser fan issues. If the fan is unable to blow, the cold air generated by the cooling element freezes the air conditioner. You'll need to thaw the ice and fix the cause before the unit can function properly. Turn off or unplug the unit before accessing the internal components of the unit.

Things You'll Need

  • Screwdriver
  • Electric motor oil
  • Raise the thermostat to a warmer temperature and turn the air conditioner fan on high to expedite thawing. This method is quicker than allowing the unit to simply thaw in the off position.

  • Locate the circuit breaker box and the air conditioner circuit breaker. Flip the breaker off to stop electrical flow to the unit. Remove the fan housing panel from the outside of the air conditioner and set it aside. In the fan housing area remove any debris such as trash bags or sticks that can block the fan blades and cause the coils to freeze. If the fan blades were blocked but are now free, replace the housing panel, flip the breaker back on, then turn on the unit so it can thaw out.

  • Turn the air conditioner circuit breaker off again, if applicable. Spin the fan blades around manually and check for resistance at the base of the fan axle. The ball bearings might be dry and require lubrication. If the bearings hinder the fan, the cooling element freezes. Squirt electric motor oil into the ball bearing lubrication ports at the base of the fan axle. Turn the fan blades to work the oil into the bearings.

Tips & Warnings

  • If the fan is unable to spin freely and move cold air created by the cooling element out of the unit and into the home, a freeze occurs. You may need to take the fan component off the motor and reinstall it correctly so the fan clears the housing.

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