So you’ve noticed that your AC system is performing poorly and you go outside to have a look. What you can see without removing any access panels is a big buildup of ice and frost on the copper lines that come out of the unit – not a favorable sight indeed. In extreme cases, there may be a big block of ice that’s formed, preventing the system from working properly. The good news is that an iced-over, frozen-up AC system is pretty simple to address.
What Causes The AC System to Ice Over?
There can be a few causes for a frozen AC system:
- Low refrigerant levels: Low levels of refrigerant are the cause of a lot of AC system issues. When the system is working properly, condensation will form on the outside of the copper lines. If the pressure levels in the system change, though, the refrigerant will behave differently. Remember that the system is a heat exchanger. As warm, moist air taken from the house moves over to the system’s evaporator, the condensation on the lines and coils can freeze and ice will form.
- Poor airflow: When the system can’t pull in enough air, there won’t be enough heat pulled in from your home to prevent condensation from freezing up and turning into ice. Check the air filters and replace them. Check for blocked ducts, closed or blocked registers, and closed-off dampers in the ductwork.
- Dirty coils: This can also be a common problem with automotive AC systems. A layer of dirt and debris on the top of the evaporator coils can prevent the system from absorbing humidity from your home’s air. The coils then become waterlogged and ice starts to build up. This can also happen when the unit’s condensation drip pan is overflowing and any condensation droplets from the coils have no place to go.
What Can Be Done for a Frozen AC Unit?
An AC unit that keeps freezing up can actually be damaged, as well as perform poorly. If freeze-ups are indicated, a technician will take into account the causes we discussed above and begin troubleshooting. That can include:
- Leaving the system off long enough for all ice to melt
- Checking and replacing air filters
- Cleaning the evaporator coil thoroughly
- Checking ducts, dampers and registers for obstructions
- Checking the blower for proper operation
- Checking the refrigerant levels in the system and recharging if necessary
A frozen-up, iced-over AC system is a headache, but the good news is that it can usually be remedied fairly easily.
Better still, it can be avoided altogether with the proper system maintenance. How long has it been since your AC system has been maintained and had a health checkup? If it’s been longer than a year, it might be a good idea to get moving on it. After all, like with your own health, it’s easier to detect and fix any problem at Stage 1 than at Stage 5.
Call D’Spain Sales & Service for AC repair in Boerne, TX today!