As reliable as they usually are, air conditioners can be fickle things. Even if you change the filters and schedule seasonal AC maintenance like you’re supposed to, there is still a chance your air conditioner will freeze up at some point over the summer. Before we talk about how you can fix your air conditioner when it freezes, let’s take a look at what might cause your air conditioner to freeze in the first place.
What causes an air conditioner to freeze?
There are three main conditioner under which your air conditioner can freeze up:
Lack of air flow – lack of air flow is one of the most common reasons that many air conditioners freeze up. Any time you have limited airflow – for instance, if you have dirty air filters or undersized ducts – you run the risk of causing the temperature of your AC’s cooling coil to drop to below freezing. What’s happening is simple – basically, as warm air moves through your return ducts, it passes over extremely cold refrigerant coil to drop off its heat. While it comes into contact with the coil, moisture in the air condenses. Normally it will roll right off into the drain line. However, if your AC’s airflow is compromised, the water will not move and will end up freezing to the coil! Normally, changing the filters is enough to fix this problem. If your air conditioner is freezing up due to undersized ducts, you should call an HVAC contractor and have them take a look at your problem and offer their suggestions.
Refrigerant leaks – the amount of refrigerant in your air conditioner has to be carefully balanced if you want to keep your air conditioner running smoothly. If there is too little refrigerant in your coil, it will not be able to absorb enough heat and will end up freezing.
Outdoor temperature – summer is supposed to be hot, but when it gets especially cold at night, there is a chance that your air conditioner could freeze up. Air conditioners don’t do well when temperatures are below 60 F. Fortunately, at these temperatures you don’t really even need to use your AC at all! If temperatures drop this low, turn off the AC and throw open the windows. You’ll save your air conditioner, and save some money at the same time!
How to Fix a Frozen Air Conditioner
To fix a frozen air conditioner, first you have to figure out what caused it to freeze up in the first place.
No matter what, the first thing you should do if your air conditioner is frozen is turn it off and let it defrost – this will prevent any serious damage to the system. Next, check all the air filters in your home to see if they are dirty or blocked. If they are dirty, clean or replace them. Check back in 24 hours – if there is no more ice on your compressor, changing the filters solved the problem.
If a lack of refrigerant has caused your air conditioner to freeze, talk to an HVAC contractor about correcting the levels. They will know exactly how much refrigerant you’ll need in your system to ensure optimal air conditioner operation. In addition, if your air conditioner is freezing due to a refrigerant leak, they will be able to fix it. There’s also the chance that your defrost timer is on the fritz, which they will be able to figure out too. Note: your air conditioner comes with all the refrigerant it will ever need. If refrigerant levels are getting low, this indicates that you have a leak in your system.
If your air conditioner is freezing up and you don’t know why, call the air conditioner experts at Michael Bonsby HVAC & Plumbing. We can provide air conditioner repair in Maryland and Washington, DC to make sure your air conditioner stays healthy and efficient all summer long