If your air conditioner isn't keeping your home adequately cool, one of the first steps you might take to troubleshoot is to look at the unit outside. Finding that it's covered in frost or has components that are completely frozen over can be quite a shock, but there are several reasons this can happen. Use the following guide to learn more about this problem and which steps you can take to get your AC unit back in proper working condition.

Cold Outdoor Conditions

While you may feel that your home is too warm on sunny 70-degree days, your air conditioning unit might feel differently. Running your air conditioner when it's not hot can lead to poor performance and even lead to the unit experiencing some frost. Powering down your air conditioning system in favor of a whole-house fan is a simple fix for this problem. If you don't have a whole-house fan, consider opening all the windows at night when the temperature drops and closing them in the morning to lock in the cold air. You may want to have your HVAC repair person inspect the air conditioning system before you turn it back on to ensure no damage was sustained during the time the unit was frozen over.

Blocked Airflow

When the airflow to your HVAC system is blocked, the condensers and coils may still continue to work. Unfortunately, the cold air has nowhere left to go. Instead, the air continues to cool the components of your AC unit, which can lead to frost. You can check your filters to make sure they aren't clogged, and you can also ensure no objects are obstructing the unit itself. In some cases, you may also want to consider having your ducts cleaned as well. If you can't determine where the airflow blockage is originating from, it may be time to contact your HVAC repair person for professional assistance.

Inadequate Coolant Levels

Coolant is essential for your HVAC system to function properly, and without it, your AC may not be able to create any cold air. However, leaks and low levels can also create an interesting effect by causing the unit to freeze over. You may find that the lines running coolant to the unit have become punctured, which can cause a leak. If you don't have your AC regularly serviced, the unit may simply not have enough coolant in place, even if there is no leak. You can quickly spot a leak by looking for puddles around the unit. If you don't feel comfortable replacing the lines or topping off the coolant, consider contacting your HVAC repair person.

No matter what the reason for your AC freezing over, you'll want to make sure you thaw the unit out completely and dry the condenser coils before attempting to run the unit again. If the weather is warm outside, you can simply power off the AC to thaw any ice or frost that may have formed. You can also contact your HVAC contractor to dry the coils and perform a complete inspection.

For more information about AC repair, contact a company like J C Heating & Cooling.