Why Is My Air Conditioner Frozen?

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A quality air conditioning system can make it feel like there is a winter chill in the air, but the system itself is not actually supposed to freeze. Many homeowners who experience cooling issues this summer will take a look at their air conditioners only to find that the unit seems to have frozen over. But how is this possible? And shouldn't ice in your cooling system help cool down your home?

Why Coils Freeze

The part of your air conditioner that has actually frozen in this case is the evaporator coil, a coil that is a component of the blower unit of your air conditioner that refrigerant passes through as part of the heat exchange process. As warm air blows over the coil, refrigerant absorbs the heat, which in turn cools down the coil. Condensation also collects on the coil from any level of humidity in the air. This condensate should run off to a drainpipe, as long as all of the conditions are right. If there is not enough refrigerant in the system though, or if there is not enough airflow moving over the coil, this water can freeze. The most common sources of a frozen coil are:
  • Refrigerant leaks
  • A dirty filter
  • A broken fan or fan motor

What’s Wrong with a Frozen Coil?

Heat cannot be absorbed properly when ice is blocking the coil. You likely won’t feel enough cool air coming through your vents, and the system will use a lot of energy running for longer periods of time. What’s worse is that the other parts will have to compensate, and these too may become overworked as the system continues to run. As the ice thaws, parts of your system can suffer from water damage. Be sure to change your filter every 1 – 3 months in order to keep air moving into the system. Call a professional technician each year for maintenance to prevent the coil from freezing. And if you do notice this particular issue, contact an expert ASAP. Call the friendly technicians at Air Mechanical, Inc. for quality air conditioning services anywhere in the Andover, MN area.

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