My Evaporator Coil Is Freezing Up

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Air conditioners can be useful appliances for homes and businesses when it comes to cooling things down in hot or humid conditions. However, as with any large appliance, issues can sometimes arise that require you to troubleshoot to resolve. One such problem is if an air conditioner evaporator coil freezes or develops frost. Learn to identify potential reasons for the problem, such as restricted air flow across the evaporator coil or a dirty blower fan, and how to thaw the evaporator coil.

Things You'll Need

  • Towels
  • Clean cloths
  • Shop vacuum
  • Refrigerant (if needed)
  • Turn off and unplug the air conditioner. Place towels around the air conditioner, particularly under the areas with frost.

  • Allow at least one day for the ice or frost to melt completely. Do not use the air conditioner during this time.

  • Open the access panel, which is located on the front of the air conditioner. Instructions vary, but press the tabs on the sides and top or remove the screws on each corner, for example. Use a shop vacuum to suction out any remaining water, dirt or debris on the evaporator coil. If the evaporator coil is excessively dirty, use a soft brush to gently clean the coil, working parallel to the fins to avoid damaging the coil. Slide out the air filter and rinse with water to remove dirt and debris. Dry thoroughly before returning to the unit. Wipe the fan blades clean with a damp cloth.

  • Close the front access panel and restore power to the air conditioner.

  • Examine the air conditioner for potential reasons for the frost or ice. Clean away any debris, such as leaves, grass, bushes or other debris that may slow the air flow through the evaporator coil. Examine the home or business for any air return grilles that may be blocked with furniture, toys, or other objects. Remove obstructions as needed.

  • Arrange for a service professional to have the refrigerant level examined and replenished if necessary.

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