There are few things more disappointing than finally making it home after a long, hot day in the sun and discovering that your AC is on the fritz. One of the most common air conditioning malfunctions is for a unit to freeze up. Don’t let its name fool you, when your AC freezes, you and your home are left in the heat. You can either open up all of your windows and hope for a breeze, or follow these three steps to getting your air conditioner up and running again.

1. Check your filter

A dirty filter could be the underlying cause of this sweaty debacle you now find yourself in. Locate your return vent, unscrew the cover and check your filter. If it’s dirty, simply replace it. It’s an easy process and new filters can be found at almost any home improvement store.

2. Thaw out your AC

To thaw out your AC, you need to take two easy steps. First, switch your thermostat to OFF and your fan to ON. This will start defrosting your A-Coil, found inside your home. Give your unit a few hours to fully defrost. If you want to escape the heat for those few hours, head to your local movie theater. High temperatures and air-conditioned movie theaters are what gave birth to the summer blockbuster. You can take a page out of your great-great-grandparents’ book and escape the heat at the movies.

The second step is to locate your air handler and the frozen coil. Due to all of the melting and dripping about to take place, it’s a smart idea to inspect your condensate pan. If it isn’t draining properly, you could wind up with a lot of water damage on your hands. If it is draining properly, you can treat your home to cool and fresh-smelling air by dropping a few condensate pan-cleaning tablets into your pan. This will help in preventing any build up over time and eliminate any odors.

3. Start ‘er up!

After allowing your AC reasonable thawing period, switch your thermostat back to COOL. If the air comes out cooler than room temperature, your AC is up and running again.

It’s always smart, however, to call a local AC company, let them know what happened and have someone come out to inspect your unit. If the system is freezing (especially if it’s happening over and over), that’s usually a sign that something is wrong.

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