It’s never a good day when you realize your air conditioning has turned into a block of ice. Yet in the countless calls we receive every day at Best Home Services, we find this to be a common issue. Frozen air conditioners lead to decreased performance and breakdowns—some of which can be quite costly. That’s why we decided to go in-depth into why air conditioners freeze and how you can prevent it from happening.
Why is My Air Conditioning Frozen?
A frozen AC unit isn’t the symptom of one problem. There could be multiple reasons why it went from cooling your home efficiently to its new stint as an ice sculpture. However, the transition is triggered when your evaporator coil freezes.
This happens due to an imbalance in the refrigerant’s temperature. But before we delve into what can cause this imbalance, it’s important to know what your evaporator coil and refrigerant are, as well as what they do. Your refrigerant is essential to the operation of your AC unit, as is the coil.
Refrigerant is what is responsible for chilling your air. Your evaporator coil captures the heat within the air and passes it off to the refrigerant. These coils are typically made of aluminum, copper, or steel bent into a U-shape and installed into panels.
When your air conditioning is in use, the compressor pulls the refrigerant through the evaporator coil, absorbing the heat in the air as it passes. The heat then warms the refrigerant, causing it to evaporate as it exits the system.
So if the whole purpose of an evaporator coil and refrigerant is to steal the heat from the air, ice should be a good thing… right? Wrong! Just like frozen water can’t pass through your pipes, neither can frozen refrigerant transfer heat outside of your home. Essentially, the cooling process comes to a complete and utter halt.
The good news is that there are signs of this imbalance that the attentive homeowner can catch before your evaporator coil turns into a popsicle. As your evaporator coil starts to freeze over, you’ll find that the system becomes more inefficient. If you notice it’s taking longer to cool your home, your utility bill starts to spike, or your system just isn’t reaching the temperatures you set on your thermostat, beware! These are all signs that your system is having trouble cooling.
Make sure that you get your AC unit inspected quickly if you experience these problems. Waiting too long can lead to the ice that developed on your system to thaw and leak into your home, as well as damages to your HVAC system.
Possible Reasons for Your Evaporator Coil Freezing
So now that you understand what your evaporator coil and refrigerant is, let’s talk about what can cause this overzealous winter to take over your cooling system. There are a few things that can cause your evaporator coil and refrigerant to freeze over like Gotham in Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero.
The most common cause is a dirty air filter. There is a reason why Best Home Services stresses the importance of changing your air filter in nearly every blog. It is the simplest form of AC and HVAC system maintenance, and one of the most important. Still, it often goes neglected, leading to potentially costly AC repair problems that could have been avoided.
Air filters are designed to catch all of the dust, debris, and allergens that flow through the air so that it enters your home fresh and clean. However, when you don’t change out the filter, this collection builds up, blocking the airflow your unit is trying diligently to push throughout your home.
Blocking this airflow obstructs your air conditioning’s ability to maintain the temperature you’ve set within your home. In turn, it pushes itself harder in attempt to regulate your indoor climate until it literally freezes over.
If this is what has happened to you, turn off your AC system, let it thaw, and replace the dirty air filters with new ones. Once your system has thawed out, try running it again and see if it works properly. If it doesn’t, you’ll need to call a technician.
Another cause may be a broken fan motor. The fan is responsible for moving air over the evaporator coil. If it fails to do its job, the system is no longer able to cool properly. One of Best Home Services’ AC technicians can replace this part for you, and help you get your system up-and-running.
Lastly, you may have an air conditioning unit that is too large for the home it’s cooling. When it comes to AC units, size matters, and bigger isn’t always better. If you purchase a system that is too powerful is prone to short cycling. This means that it cannot move enough air through the home because it’s too efficient. Instead of operating regularly, its ability to rapidly reach a temperature causes frequent and short bursts of activity that can lead to a frozen evaporator coil.
If you’re looking to purchase a new AC unit, don’t make an uneducated decision. Consult a professional. A proper AC technician will help you choose the right the right unit based on the size of the space it’s responsible for cooling.
Ways to Prevent Your AC Unit from Freezing
Best Home Services recommends several things in order to help you reduce your risk of a frozen AC unit. This includes:
- Regular Maintenance: Just like you get your annual physical, your HVAC system needs annual maintenance. These visits are affordable and help prevent costly issues by maintaining and replacing the components of your AC unit as needed.
- Change Your Air Filters Regularly: Air filters should be changed every 1 to 3 months, depending on your home environment. Pet owners usually need to change their filters more frequently due to coat shedding and pet dander.
- Ensure You Have the Right AC Unit Size: Make an educated purchase. Consult with professionals like those at Best Home Services to determine what the right size unit is for your residential home. We can also help you choose a model that aligns with what you find important, such as energy efficiency, quiet levels, and advanced features.
Professional AC Service for Your Frozen AC Unit
Do you need a professional AC repair, maintenance visit, or replacement for your AC unit? If you’re a resident of Southwest Florida, look no further than Best Home Services! Like our name implies, we deliver the best in customer service, satisfaction, efficiency, and execution.
Best Home Services only hires licensed and certified technicians that align with our high standards and values. Don’t just take our word for it. Read firsthand testimonies by our customers left through Google, Facebook, and other online reviews.
To set an appointment, all you need to do is call 239-284-1472 or 941-564-0004.