August 23, 2018 Air ConditionersInfo Articles

Why Your AC Freezes Up

Your air conditioner is designed to create a cool indoor environment in the midst of a rather hot, humid weather. But if the system freezes up, its efficiency is compromised, which not only causes discomfort but also leads to higher utility bills. Ultimately, neglecting to fix this problem can lead to permanent damage to the system.

If there’s an ice buildup on your AC’s outdoor components, it may be caused by a number of factors. Marsh Heating and Air Conditioning is a trusted HVAC company in Roseville MN that can help you determine the cause of the problem, get rid of the ice buildup, and restore your unit’s efficiency.

Here are some of the reasons for an air conditioner to freeze up.

Low Refrigerant Levels

The refrigerant is an essential part of your AC unit. Without it, it cannot transfer the heat from the inside to outside of your house. Even a small loss of refrigerant in an air conditioner can lead to many problems. The refrigerant should stay at a specific charge to keep the system in normal operation.

There are two things to consider when an AC freezes up and the refrigerant is to blame: the refrigerant charge is off or there is a leak somewhere. Either way, a qualified technician can detect the issues for you. Unlike gas, refrigerant doesn’t get used up, so, when your unit is low on refrigerant charge, it simply means that there is a leak somewhere in the system.

Low refrigerant can inhibit the indoor coil from absorbing the proper amount of heat. Not only does this compromise the cooling capacity of your AC, it also causes the evaporator coil to begin to ice up since the refrigerant’s temperature is not rising high enough. The more ice buildup across the coil, the less it can absorb heat, leading to a diminished cooling that will eventually cause the unit to completely lose its cooling power.

This is not to be neglected as low refrigerant also damages the compressor, also known as the heart of the air conditioner. The compressor is designed to match the refrigerant charged, and if it drips, the compressor will start to work a lot harder than it should and will soon break. A broken compressor is a huge expense that you would want to avoid, so have a professional fix the issue before it even worsens.

Insufficient Airflow

One of the main causes of an air conditioner to freeze up is insufficient airflow. Operating your system with dirty components suffocates the unit and causes the coils to drop below freezing. The humidity in the air also contributes to the problem as it collects on the coils, making an even greater ice buildup on your AC.

Bear in mind that the dirtier the filter gets, the more it compromises your system’s airflow. When a dirty filter restricts airflow, there’s an insufficient amount of air passing through the system to transfer heat from your home to the refrigerant. This makes the refrigerant colder than it should, leading to an ice buildup on the coils.

If a dirty filter is the only source of ice buildup on the system, replacing it should solve the problem. Also, check the points at which the airflow may be damaged — registers, duct connectors or the ductwork itself. If the ductwork is excessively dirty, it can restrict the airflow to the unit. In this case, you may need to call your preferred HVAC company to further inspect your ductwork. Cleaning of the ducts may also be required to clear the blockage from the system.

How Regular Maintenance Helps

Having your AC maintained by a professional on a regular basis is essential to keeping your unit performing in tip-top shape. Some of the steps performed during a preventive maintenance check include the evaluation of refrigerant levels and testing of the airflow to the system. This can identify potential issues that may cause your air conditioner to freeze up when neglected.

You don’t have to wait until your unit freezes up. Marsh Heating and Air Conditioning can help you properly maintain your cooling system and avoid the discomfort that comes with a freezing AC unit.

For over 40 years, we have been providing excellent Fridley AC repair services to homeowners and businesses alike.