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Keep Your Air Conditioner From Freezing Up With These 5 Tips

Seeing your air conditioner coil or refrigerant lines encased in ice can be a surprising sight, especially if the incident happens on a hot summer day.

Fortunately, you can keep this from happening to your air conditioner simply by taking the following precautions.

#1: Have Your HVAC Technician Check for Refrigerant Leaks

Low refrigerant levels are a surprisingly common culprit when it comes to ice buildup on air-conditioning systems. As the unit attempts to operate with less refrigerant than intended, the resulting drop in pressure can cause evaporator-coil temperatures to dip below freezing.

When the temperatures dip like this, it can cause nearby water vapor tofreeze onto the coils’ surface. While this initially creates a light coat of frost, the frost can eventually build up into a thick sheet of ice.

Your air conditioning system is a closed system. Meaning the refrigerant should not escape the system. Low refrigerant levels are usually caused by a leak somewhere within the system, whether it be in the refrigerant lines or a component that regularly handles refrigerant (such as the compressor or evaporator coil).

It’s a good idea to have your HVAC technician check your air conditioner’s refrigerant levels and, if necessary, track down any leaks that could be robbing your unit of its refrigerant.

#2: Check and Change Your Air Filter

Good airflow is absolutely essential if you want to keep your air conditioner from freezing over. A clogged or otherwise dirty air filter can easily get in the way of this by preventing sufficient air flow through the return air duct. If there isn’t enough air flowing through the evaporator coil, the coil will eventually develop an ice layer.

Changing your air filter on a regular basis is not only essential for preventing freeze-ups but also necessary for good air-conditioner performance and indoor air quality. Most experts recommend that you replace your air filter once every three months, although some manufacturers may suggest you replace your air filter every month.

#3: Make Sure Your Blower Fan Is Working Properly

A faulty blower fan can also make life hard for your air conditioner, either because it can’t generate enough airflow to keep the coil from freezing over or because it won’t function at all. In either case, you’ll need to have your HVAC technician take a good look at the blower fan. In addition to checking the age and overall wear condition of the blower fan and its motor, your HVAC technician may also check the fan’s rotational direction, rotation speed, and power output.

#4: Check Your Condensate Drain Line

Your air conditioner cools the surrounding air by absorbing its latent heat and transferring said heat outdoors. Any moisture that was condensed out of the once-humid air ends up in the condensate drip tray, where it eventually flow out of the air conditioner through a built-in drainage system.

If any part of that system becomes clogged, the water in the tray can back up and eventually overflow. More importantly, the resulting excess moisture can make the evaporator coil more vulnerable to freezing over.  If you notice any blockages, try using the suction power of a wet/dry shop vacuum to dislodge any debris.

If your air-conditioning system is giving you the cold shoulder due to ice buildup, schedule an appointment with one of our seasoned HVAC technicians via our contact form today.

#5: Check Your Vents

Check that your vents (both supply and return) are open and not blocked. Move furniture away from any vents so air can easily pass through.  Don’t close more than 2-3 supply vents.  While you may think you are saving money by cooling less area of your home, you could be restricting air flow too much and potentially cause your air conditioning system to freeze up.