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Can I Pour Hot Water on Frozen Air Conditioner?


We are using an air conditioning system to supply stable humidity and proper ventilation inside our rooms. That being said, air conditioners are one of the most important gems we have in our homes. 

With its benefits in the quality of our lives, we strive to have healthy air conditioners. However, despite our efforts to maintain a healthy air conditioner unit, it may suddenly start acting up. One of the most common air conditioner problems is a frozen AC unit. 

If you have a frozen air conditioner unit right now and you are thinking of pouring hot water into it, you’re definitely not alone. Since people believe in the power of contrast, they tend to pour hot water into their frozen air conditioning units. Despite finding this technique useful, it is also important to know if this really works for your frozen air conditioner. Are you curious? Learn more by reading the blog further.

Why Does My Air Conditioner Freeze Up?

Hot Water on Frozen Air Conditioner

There might be times when you notice that your air conditioner is blowing warm air instead of a soothing cool breeze. To your surprise, ice could be found on your AC unit in the middle of the summer heat—startled to see your air conditioner’s coils or refrigerant lines freezing up. 

When your air conditioner has issues, the ratio of heat input to cooling output may be off, which might lead to your evaporator coils getting too cold. In other words, when you are talking about your air conditioner freezing, it means that the evaporator coil or heat pump of your HVAC unit is frozen.

Basically, a frozen air conditioner refers to an air conditioner that has formed ice in your outdoor unit and is unable to thaw. So, if you are wondering, here are some of the possible reasons why your outside unit freezes:

Low Refrigerant Levels

The most common culprit behind your frozen air conditioner is low refrigerant levels. The pressure from the refrigerant will be too low if the refrigerant level is colder than the usual temperatures. As a result, the pressure inside the evaporator coil decreases, allowing cool air and moisture to collect and eventually freeze on the coil. Therefore, the air conditioner freezes because of the extreme cold created by the coils from the refrigerant levels. 

When you are running AC units more often and at colder set temperatures, especially during the summer heat, they’re more likely to freeze up.

Modes of the Air Conditioner Unit

A sudden change from heat mode to cool mode or vice versa can also make ice buildups on your unit. The heat mode is when the unit blows warm air until the desired temperature is reached. When suddenly shifted to cool mode, the heat pump could freeze as the unit will immediately blow cool air.

Blocked Coils 

An evaporator coil absorbs the heat from the air inside your home from the refrigerant line to heat pumps. If the coils are blocked with dust and other debris, it might affect the performance of the AC unit. Therefore, when warm air is restricted from the coils in your unit, the coils get too cold and eventually ice over.

Poor Air Flow 

Anything that hinders the airflow from your air conditioner is damaging the AC faster. If less air is being provided to the evaporator coils, there is a huge chance that your air conditioner unit will freeze. Listed are some of the reasons that create a frozen air conditioner unit from poor airflow:

Dirty Air Filter

Dirty air filters decrease the efficiency of your air conditioners. Not to add, a dirty filter can cause your system to fail. If you see significant damage to your air filter, replace it with a new filter from your local hardware store.

Collapsed Duct

Air ducts serve as conduits or tunnels of an air conditioning unit to supply or remove either cold or hot air.  As the heating and cooling systems of your air conditioning unit are specifically designed to spread air equally throughout your home, you’ll consistently see a frozen AC unit if the conduit of air is not functioning properly.

Problems with Blower Fan

The blower fan of the air conditioner is driven by a motor, so having a bad motor makes it cease working. Additionally, if the air conditioner’s blower fan breaks down, the air cannot move quickly enough through the ductwork.

Can You Pour Hot Water on a Frozen AC Coil?

To cut it short, yes, you can definitely pour hot water on your frozen air conditioners. However, there is no science that can prove the contribution of hot water to melting the ice faster in your air conditioner unit.

On a side note, it is not at all required to pour extremely hot water into your frozen air conditioner coils to defrost them. There is no ideal temperature of hot water to unfreeze the AC unit fast. You may also consider using lukewarm water to solve the problem with frozen coils. In fact, it is not necessary to pour boiling water as running water can also work to thaw the ice.

As there is no evidence that it helps in the process of ice melt, pouring water may or may not harm your appliances.

That being said, pouring hot water is merely a short-term fix for the issue, so consulting a technician is still advised to prevent further damage.

Air conditioners are built to withstand high temperatures, so pouring water on a frozen unit is feasible. There are several options in dealing with a frozen heat pump or frozen coils. But if you would like to try pouring hot water on a frozen AC as a band-aid solution, here are the steps:

  1. Turn off the main electricity source in the house before pouring water.
  2. Remove the cords in the zones where hot water may splash.
  3. Make sure that you only pour hot water into your frozen AC coil only. Avoid splashing and pouring hot water into any parts of your air conditioner. By doing this, you need to pour hot water into a steady stream to help restore your AC while avoiding its sensitive parts. 
  4. Ensure that you pour water drains outside your unit. Pour hot water at intervals of 30 seconds. 
  5. After that, allow the device to thaw the ice by turning on the fan for a few hours.

You should never try and break the ice formed on your AC with a sharp object. If you do so, you may end up breaking or causing severe damage to some parts of the air conditioning unit.

How to Prevent an Air Conditioner Unit from Freezing Up

In order to prevent such a problem from recurring, your air conditioner needs a regular check-up. As your air conditioning unit is one of the most important electrical equipment in your home, you must take utmost care of your unit with a preventative plan that will be more cost-effective than big air conditioner repairs. 

You can also defrost your air conditioner quickly by choosing the defrost mode. In some air conditioners, the defrost mode refers to the cool mode as it blows hot air outside. High-functioning air conditioners also have automatic settings to self-maintain the unit.

Final Thoughts

noisy air conditioner

During the hot summer days, the air conditioner is the only source of cool and comfortable air which helps you to survive high temperatures. But if you will see a frozen air conditioner unit in your home, you might be thinking of what should you do. Don’t worry, a frozen air conditioner is actually much more common than you think.

Pouring warm water on a frozen air conditioner is much easier than waiting for it to cool down. Defrosting air conditioner air quickly can get your frozen air conditioner back to normal without having to contact a repair service. 

As hot water may be a cheap option for the defrosting process of your air conditioner, you should properly study the process. Pouring hot water into your air conditioner may seem effective to remove ice, but one should take necessary precautions. 

If you are experiencing trouble with your frozen air conditioning unit, get your air conditioner fixed by contacting your local HVAC specialist. You could also schedule a regular maintenance check-up to prevent ice formation in your air conditioner.

JP Reyes

JP has been in the aircon industry for almost as long as he has been alive. As a child JP would help his tatay fix aircon units at their junk shop in Cavite. After graduating UP in the early 2000's, JP then started his own Aircon servicing business and within 5 years had 10 shops in 8 different cities. Fast forward to today and JP brings all his experience and expertise online to give readers trustworthy advice and reviews about Air-conditioning buying, servicing, cleaning and repair in the Philippines.

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