HOW TO PREVENT YOUR AIR CONDITIONER FROM FREEZING UP
JUN 11, 2018
Living in Phoenix means relying on your air conditioner to make it through the summer. The heat is simply too much for fans to keep up with, so it’s up to your HVAC system to make life bearable. Unfortunately, those systems sometimes fail and issues such as your air conditioner freezing up can happen. Instead of panicking, you need to know what steps to take in order to fix the problem and stop it from happening again. Unfreezing your system is relatively easy, but the maintenance you need to do to make sure it doesn’t happen again is arguably more important.
AIR CONDITIONER FREEZING UP? WHAT TO DO NEXT:
Your air conditioner is frozen, and that means that you’re going to have to deal with the heat. Luckily, the fix for this is usually fairly simple – time and heat. Turn off the unit and let it defrost, or use a hairdryer set on low to gently melt away the ice. While getting the unit unfrozen is easy, it’s more important that you know how to keep it from freezing up in the first place. Below are a few maintenance steps you can undertake to make sure that your AC unit doesn’t freeze up when the temperature starts to get unbearable.
CHANGE YOUR FILTER
Airflow is incredibly important to keep your air conditioner functioning properly. While you can’t control everything about how your air conditioner works, you can certainly make its job easier. Perhaps the cheapest and most effective way to do this is by changing out your air filters at least once a month. It doesn’t take any professional help to make this change, and doing the job should take about a minute per filter.
How often you need to change out your filters really depends on your individual needs. Most people can get away with switching filters once every two or three months. If you have pets that shed, though, you’ll want to switch every month. Clogged or improperly switched filters are a leading cause of air conditioning units freezing, so this is usually the first place an HVAC technician will look for a problem. Go ahead and switch them out now so that you can prevent freezing. If your air conditioner is already frozen, go ahead and switch the vents anyway to prevent any future problems.
LOOK AT THE EVAPORATOR COIL
It’s very important to take care of the exterior air conditioning unit of your home. Did you know that cleaning the unit should already be part of your air conditioner maintenance process? If not, your evaporator coil might be dirtier than you expect. When this happens, the air flow to the coil is restricted and your air conditioning unit won’t work correctly. In time, this can be a prime cause of freezing – so make sure that you start cleaning this part of your HVAC system on a regular basis.
Cleaning off the evaporator coil isn’t tough and it doesn’t require any special tools. Just using a rag to wipe away the dirt is usually enough to keep your AC unit working throughout the summer. When you’re outside, though, take a look at the unit and make sure that there are no large pieces of debris sticking to the unit. This can also cause problems, and anything that causes more dirt build-up on the evaporator coil can mean trouble. You want to make sure that this part of the HVAC system is always in good shape, as it can sometimes be very costly to replace this part.
CHECK OUT THE DUCTS
In most cases, your ductwork won’t be a problem that causes your AC unit to freeze up. Ducts have to be fairly dirty to cause any kind of airflow restriction, and those who properly change out their filters and pay at least a little attention to how their AC unit is working usually don’t have this kind of problem. If you have moved into a new house and notice that freezing is a problem, though, you might want to take a look at the ducts just in case.
Clogged ducts are usually a problem for those who don’t take care of their AC systems and totally ignore their filters. If you have never changed out your AC filters before or if you have a number of large pets who shed, it may be necessary to check out your ducts more often. It’s usually a good idea to have a professional to do the cleaning if you do notice there is a problem. While there certainly is a cost involved, a professional will be able to have more of an impact on the airflow of your home than you could ever hope to on your own.
GET A MAINTENANCE CHECK
If all else fails, it’s time to call in a professional to take a look at the system. Specifically, you want a licensed HVAC professional to take a look at your refrigerant levels. You cannot change out refrigerant on your own, and you absolutely need a professional’s help to make sure that there’s not some kind of leak in the system. If all of the maintenance above was done and you’re still having problems, there’s a very good chance that a lack of refrigerant is at fault. This can be a quick fix, luckily, and once you’re topped off your system will eventually return to normal.
If the low refrigerant isn’t an issue, your HVAC tech will have to look at your entire system to figure out if there is a line problem, issues with the refrigeration process, or something else going on. This can be a lengthy process, but it’s worth looking at especially as it starts to get hotter outside. While there is plenty that you can do in the DIY category to help make sure that your AC unit doesn’t freeze up, you should always be willing to hand the work off to a professional once you get past the basics.
A frozen air conditioner is an air conditioner that isn’t cooling your home, so always make sure that you take steps to ensure that the unit doesn’t freeze up on you when it’s important. By following a few basic maintenance steps, you can avoid most major problems during the summer. If things continue to go wrong, though, you should always turn to experts that you can trust. If your air conditioner continues to freeze or you have other HVAC problems, make sure to contact Donley Service Center to get the help you need.