The Quickest Way to Defrost an A/C Line


Defrosting an AC (air conditioning) line is a simple process and there are several ways to do it. Some of those ways are definitely faster than others. The time it takes will depend on the material used for the line. If it is metal, defrosting can happen in minutes with the correct heating equipment. If it is PVC plastic, the process will take longer because you can not use direct heat.

Things You'll Need

  • Pipe thaw machine
  • Heat gun

Defrosting Metal AC Lines

  • Plug the pipe thaw machine into a 115 AC V grounded 20 amp electrical socket as close to the frozen air conditioning line as possible. It may be necessary to run an extension cord to get the unit close enough to the pipe.

  • Connect each thawing cable to either end of the frozen area. Place one cable before the freeze zone and one after.

  • Turn on the pipe thaw machine and allow to sit for eight to 25 minutes depending on the size of the pipe and length of area that is frozen.

Defrosting Plastic AC Line

  • Plug in the heat gun as close to the frozen line as possible. If necessary, run an extension cord. You will need a free range of motion to use the heat gun effectively. A hair dryer works nearly as well if you do not have a heat gun.

  • Turn on the heat gun and begin slow, even swipes over the area to be defrosted. Start at the end with the least frost and work your way up. Do not put the heat directly on the frost, as water could get into it as the frost melt. Do no put the heat gun directly against the plastic line as this could cause the line to soften or melt.

  • Remove the frost as it begins to loosen. This will speed up the process by allowing the hot air direct contact with the pipe. The heat will continue to melt the ice on the inside of the pipe which will loosen the frost for removal.

Tips & Warnings

  • As the water inside the metal pipe begins to melt, the frost on the exterior will become loose. You can allow the frost to drop off on its own or remove it as it loosens.
  • If the AC line that is frozen is on the exterior of the building, you may have a flow problem and will need to contact a professional to service your unit. If the frozen line is on the interior, make sure it is insulated from the origin at the exterior all the way to the connection on the interior AC unit.

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