Randy Wolf

Get Help For Your AC When Your Air Conditioner Freezes

When your air conditioner freezes up, you can see that there is a frost build-up on the copper coming out of the system. In some cases, the build-up of frost is so severe that it will form a solid block of ice. Fortunately, it is often easy to solve this problem. Even if your air conditioner seems to be frozen, it does not indicate a serious problem with the system.

What You Should Do When There Is Ice In The AC Unit

The first thing you should do if your AC unit is frozen is to turn the entire system off because as long as the air conditioner is trying to cool your home, the frost will continue to form.

You may even need to turn the thermostat over to the heat setting to speed the thawing process.

It is important to watch the level of water in the AC unit while the air conditioner is warming up and thawing the ice. Your air conditioner can be damaged if the drain pan overflows.

What Is The Reason The AC Unit Is Freezing Up?

1. Refrigerant Is Low.

The refrigerant known as chlorodifluoromethane or R22 can be the cause of the freeze-up.

R22 can have various properties depending on the level of pressure. If the system is working properly, the refrigerant is supposed to pass through the lines at a temperature that may cause condensation outside the line.

The R22 can react differently if something happens that causes the pressure in the system to change. If the warm air in the house contains moisture, the moisture will start to condense on the coils and freeze, causing ice to form.

A small amount of frost will not cause a noticeable problem with the air conditioner performance, but if the ice builds up too much, the airflow will be affected.

A build-up of ice acts as an insulator, and the system will stop working properly, making the R22 refrigerant evaporate more quickly. Once the level of refrigerant becomes too low, the line will not freeze any longer. The ice may start to melt, but at this time the air is no longer flowing in the system, and there will be no cooling effect from your air conditioner.

Once the system stops cooling your home, there is potential for water damage to the unit. You should have an HVAC technician check out your air conditioner as soon as possible to analyze the problem and repair it.

2. Poor Flow Of Air

Once the air conditioner is not getting enough airflow, warm air from your home will not provide sufficient heat to stop the condensation on the coil from freezing.

The first step is to check your air filters and replace them if necessary. Even when air filters are not clogged with dirt, there can still be a problem with poor airflow.

Check all the air vents in your house with your hand, holding it in front of the vents to see if air leaks along the sides of the grate.

Also watch for ducts, grates, and dampers that are blocked or closed.

3. Coils Are Dirty

Dirty air conditioner coils are another common reason why the Tampa air conditioning unit has developed frost. Ice build-up will prevent the proper flow of air in the system so that a small amount of frost can quickly build up into solid ice around the coils.

It is important to remember that AC units dehumidify the air in the home in addition to cooling it, which can lead to the evaporator coils freezing. The water gets pulled out of the air, and the resulting condensation collects and freezes on the coils.

If the drops of condensation fall from the coils on to the drip pan below, there won’t be a problem. However, if the drip pan overflows, the coils will be waterlogged, and the water will freeze.

When coils get dirty, the dirt layer can keep them from absorbing water quickly. A bi-annual maintenance check from a local HVAC expert can ensure the AC coils stay clean.

4. Blower Fan Is Damaged

The blower fan ensures the warm air in your home is blown outside, and the cold air is circulated where it needs to go.

The cool air from your AC unit is denser. The blower fan removes the hot air from your home, causing the dense, cold air to move in to replace it.

The system must have the right balance of air pressure and airflow to work correctly to create and push cooler air throughout your home.

The blower fan of the AC unit can get damaged during normal operation. If the blower fan does not work properly, the airflow inside the air handler will not move properly. There can be too much condensation building up on the condenser coils, and the condensed droplets will not drain or evaporate properly.

If warm air does not flow over the parts, a refrigerant line can freeze up due to the blower fan not working. Be very careful when the refrigerant line freezes. The ice can spread to the condenser unit on the outside, resulting in serious problems.

AC Services

It is possible to handle an air conditioner freezing problem by yourself as long as you catch it very early. If they freeze up is caused by the coils being dirty, or if the system has been damaged by water, you should contact us online or by telephone to arrange an appointment. We have a team of expert technicians who can repair your AC system quickly and efficiently when your air conditioner freezes up.

How Often Should Your Air Conditioner Be Inspected

How often should an air conditioner be serviced? It depends on the recommendation of the manufacturer, but every HVAC unit is best inspected every few years to be safe. Household units tend to be robust and able to work for over a decade without much maintenance, but inspection is a preventative measure, and timely refrigerant filtering can extend the lifespan of a unit.

The summer is still sweltering hot, and there is a chance that next year’s summer will be warmer. It is essential to make sure that your air conditioning system has the right refrigerant pressure and a smoothly working compressor. Since most units are not overpowered for the size of the house, any drop in efficiency could overwork the system and leave the house in general uncomfortable due to the inability to generate sufficient cooling.

There are a lot of reasons that an air conditioner can reduce its efficiency, and the only two that the user can cure is to change the air filter or else look for particle buildup on the radiator fins. Other problems are mechanical or have to do with the refrigerant, and only a certified HVAC technician can work on these.

It pays to have a technician look at everything if the unit is performing below expectations. It is good to have the unit inspected anyway because many units leak refrigerant slowly or experience inefficiency due to particle buildup or moving part failure. Smaller units are more likely to fail because they are easier to overwork or loose pressure.

Understanding Why Air Conditioning Systems Fail

The air conditioner is the most expensive utility in most homes because it consumes so much electricity. It is also the hardest to do without because summer heat creates so much discomfort inside a large house. Proper air conditioning makes indoor living comfortable and also reduces stress on the body. Some people even need the humidity-stripping ability of AC to support their health.

Given the monetary investment, the homeowner should understand why this important utility might fail. They also should understand that the filter removes everything from dust to mites that are suspended in the air. Neglecting the filter can reduce its effectiveness while also increasing resistance on the HVAC fan. A person with allergies might use a finer filter, but this also increases stress on the fan.

The most common problem is that the filter becomes clogged, and this causes the HVAC system to overwork. Eventually, clumps of particles tear holes in the filter and eventually come in contact with the heat exchanger, also known as the radiator. This unwanted layer of insulation further reduces efficiency, and further increases demand on the unit.

An inefficient system wears out faster and also costs substantially more power to operate. A badly fouled radiator might develop external ice particles and possibly create a hole. If the refrigerant does not leak, then the compressor eventually wears out. Essentially a rapid gas pump, the compressor is less robust than the metal fan that moves air and is likely to be replaced at least once in the lifespan of an HVAC unit.

The good news is that your air conditioning system can easily be restored to peak performance by replacing the old refrigerant and installing a new compressor. The more expensive option is to install a new HVAC unit. This installation might create energy savings of 20 to 40 percent. The only way to save more money is to increase insulation, and that is a whole other profession.

All About AC Evaporator Coil Leaks

Every air conditioner features an evaporator coil. This coil circulates the coolant throughout a loop system, and this is the mechanism that cools the air moving through your office or home. Should your evaporator coil leak, you shouldn’t panic. Here is what you have to do: call a trusted HVAC technician, and your evaporator coil will start working again just like that.

How Does A Leak Happen?

Your HVAC system normally circulates the air moving it through its ducts and uses a coolant to absorb heat from the air indoors. During your day to day activities, it is reasonable to use aerosol air fresheners, adhesives for DIY projects, cleaning products, and so on. Most of these chemicals contain VOCs, Volatile Organic Compounds, which combine with the moisture in the air and produce acids. These acids form tiny pinhole leaks in your system’s coil, which are called Formicary Tunneling Corrosion. This corrosion allows outside air enters your home and slow refrigerant leak. This leak damages the environment as well as your home’s cooling system.

The main issue here is that most homeowners aren’t aware if they face refrigerant leaks or not. These copper coil holes are minuscule and can hardly be seen by the naked eye. The evaporator coil isn’t visible to a person staring at the HVAC system. This is why experienced HVAC professionals perform leak diagnosis.

Evaporator Coil Leak Signs

In humid areas, most homeowners use their AC systems during a long summer season, extending from late spring to early fall. The first refrigerant leak signal you will notice is your air conditioner taking longer to cool down your home. Once your system has less and less refrigerant circulating, the AC needs to work harder and longer to perform its duty. The result is uncomfortable, warmer temperatures inside your home.

Another coolant leak signal happens right when you turn on the AC or lower the set temperature in your thermostat. You should feel the cool air blowing right then and there. If the airflow is weak or doesn’t start immediately, that is another sign of a possible refrigerant leak. Other symptoms include warm air that comes out of the vents, frozen evaporator coils or a hissing noise coming from the outdoor unit, and even unpleasant smells when you turn on the air conditioner.

Some of these signals could also indicate different problems with your air conditioning unit. Nevertheless, warm air blowing from your vents with the cooling system on is always a bad sign. If this is your case, turn off your AC immediately to avoid further damage and call an HVAC professional ASAP for an inspection.

Sometimes homeowners compare their AC systems to their cars and think as if they “ran out of refrigerant” when they lack cool air. The problem with this reasoning is that the coolant inside the AC is continuously reused and never consumed. The only reason for a cooling system without refrigerant is a leak. If you have called HVAC technicians who told you to refill your system, they should also patch up holes or replace the evaporator coil. Otherwise, the leak will continue, and it is a matter of time before you have the same issue again.

What Should I Do?

If you see your situation described above and you believe you have a refrigerant leak, call us. One of our technicians will visit your home or office and check your system for leaks. If that turns to be the case, usually the best option is an evaporator coil replacement.

Some technicians try to patch up or seal holes and add more refrigerant, but it is very likely the refrigerant continues to leak, and you will waste money on electricity and continuous repairs. While a new evaporator coil isn’t a bargain, it will allow you to move on without further leaks.

Performing regular maintenance on your HVAC system is also a proactive move to ensure it is always in good condition. Another good step is to change the air filters monthly to keep the air flowing efficiently and catch dirt, dust, debris, pet hair, dander, pollen, and so on.

Call an HVAC technician twice a year to perform a thorough examination. He will be able to identify potential issues and give you options before you have to spend too much. Routine maintenance servicing can also include an evaporator coil cleaning with a solution to remove dust and dirt and neutralize the acid that causes leaks.

Clean coils transfer heat more efficiently, so the system works more effectively during less time. It also reduces stress on the tubing, which reduces the chances of the refrigerant leaking out.

Cleaning your air ducts regularly also improves your system’s airflow efficiency. All the dust, dirt, pollen, and debris result in obstacles to the airflow inside your home’s or office’s system. Not to mention the increase in the indoor air quality you and your family breathe, thus avoiding potential health and allergy issues by removing the dust and pollen from the ducts before they contaminate the indoor air.

How Can I Prevent Refrigerant From Leaking?

In case you replace your evaporator coil, avoid using the same products that emit VOCs and caused the refrigerant leak. If that is not a choice, you should consider adding a Whole-Home Air Purifying System to filter these VOCs before they enter the HVAC system. Some air purifiers neutralize VOCs with UV light. Allowing fresh air indoors by opening windows dilutes the VOCs presence and may help mitigate the problem.

Regularly cleaning and inspecting your coils are another two ways to maintain the system and reducing leaking risks. In this case, however, avoid taking the DIY route and cleaning the coils by yourself because you could cause more significant damage, which could be costlier to repair. Opening sections of the outdoor unit to locate the coils should be a task performed by experienced professionals.

Residential & Commercial Services

Randy Wolf Air Conditioning specializes in residential Air Conditioning and Heating. Whether you need to replace older equipment, have your unit serviced, or schedule seasonal maintenance checks to ensure that your system will run efficiently, Randy will give you personalized attention and service with honesty and dependability.

When you hire Randy Wolf for your Commercial HVAC project, you’re getting a full-service Commercial A/C contractor with over 40 years of experience working for Tampa Bay businesses.

Whether you would like to replace an outdated system, install a more efficient and cost-effective system, or are constructing a new commercial building and are needing the best design and equipment, Randy Wolf Air Conditioning has the expertise and experience to meet your needs!