Without fail, every year, hundreds of homeowners call at the beginning of the cooling season because the air conditioner began to develop ice on its lines and the unit is not putting out adequate cool air. Though this problem is common throughout the season, starting the unit up for the first time often reveals damage that was either left from last season or that occurred during the condensers long winter outdoors. No matter the cause, you need to get the system back up and running before the real heat of summer arrives. Most homeowners rush to the internet for quick fixes, but there is very little a homeowner can do about a frozen air conditioner. More likely than not, you will need professional help.
Shut the Unit Down and Check the Filter
However, there are a couple steps you can try on your own. The first and most important step is to shut the cooling system down. This will shut off the compressor and prevent the system from burning itself out and causing more damage. You could run the fan alone to help circulate warmer air over the coils to speed the thawing process. While the air conditioner is thawing, check the filter. A dirty filter left from over the winter season could be choking off the airflow to the coils. This could be the cause of the freezing.
Check the Temperature
If the filter is clean, next consider the temperature outside. The temperature outside must be above 60 degrees in order for the condenser to work properly. If the temperature dropped over night or if the temperature dropped during the day, this could have caused the freezing. Do not turn on the air conditioner until it is sufficiently warm outside. Run the fan alone to circulate air on days where the inside of the home is uncomfortably warmer than the outside temperatures.
Contact a Pro
If neither of these reasons can explain the freezing, call your favorite HVAC contractor. The problem may be something much bigger than a dirty filter, and it will need professional help to be repaired properly. Refrigerant leaks are a common cause, and unless you are licensed service technician, there is little chance of you repairing this problem on your own.