Why is My Air Conditioner Freezing Up?

Why is My Air Conditioner Freezing Up?

Perhaps it’s a little surprising that during the warm weather months, your air conditioner can freeze, but this is actually a common problem that can occur for a number of reasons. Freezing can indicate a serious problem with your equipment, but it is also preventable with proper maintenance. Here’s what you need to know about how to take care of your air conditioner to prevent freezing and how it happens in the first place.

Freezing typically occurs on the evaporator coils

Unlike furnaces, which generate heat by burning fuel, air conditioners cool air by directing it over refrigerant contained in the evaporator coils.  The coils warm up as they absorb the heat and moisture is removed from the air. The coils can develop ice on them from the condensation that occurs during this process. The refrigerant in the coils stays cold and if the evaporator coils are prevented from absorbing enough heat, the condensation builds up and can freeze. When this happens, the coils appear to be covered in snow.

Why is my air conditioner freezing up?

Low refrigerant

If your air conditioner has a leak, there may be an insufficient amount of refrigerant circulating through coils. A low level of refrigerant prevents the coils from removing enough heat from the air to warm the coils.

Poor airflow

Insufficient airflow from a dirty air filter, or blocked or closed registers also means there isn’t enough heat available to warm the coils.

Dirty coils

Dirt on the coils creates an additional barrier between the warm air and the refrigerant inside the coils, making it harder for the necessary heat transfer to take place.

Cold weather 

Spring temperatures can be unpredictable. Outside temperature fluctuations, with drops to below 60 degrees, can cause the coils to freeze.

How you can prevent your air conditioner from freezing up

Schedule a tune-up every year

A professional maintenance visit will include a check of your system’s refrigerant levels, inspection of the entire system including the blower motor and a thorough cleaning of the system, including the evaporator coils.

Change your air filter regularly

A clean air filter protects your entire system by keeping airflow unobstructed. Change the filter every 30-90 days to ensure your air conditioner functions properly.

Keep all of your air registers open and clear of obstructions

Make sure furniture or other household items aren’t blocking the registers and preventing air from flowing freely through the system.

Contact Indoor Air Quality today to schedule your spring maintenance in Highlands Ranch and throughout the Denver metro area.