July 20, 2020

With an air conditioner, you would think that “freezing” is a good thing. However, that is not always the case. Your air conditioner needs the right temperature, airflow, and pressure to work correctly. When the cooling system is out of balance, your refrigerant produces cold air that will seize and freeze itself. When this happens, your system could experience catastrophic damage.

A frozen air conditioner will blow out warm to cool air. In some cases, you might not have any air coming out of the vents. You’ll want to avoid this scenario at all costs. Here are a few things to know about the causes of a frozen air conditioner.

What causes an air conditioner to freeze up - infographic

The Basics of Cooling Your Air

The air conditioner needs coils full of cold refrigerant to cool down your warm air. When the system is activated, the warm air will blow across the coils. With this process, the air cools from the cold coils, but the warm air will keep the components warm and unfrozen. Those indoor coils will remove the heat from inside your home and transfer it to the refrigerant coils. If you check your outdoor air conditioner, you may notice hot air blowing from the unit. This warm air is due to pulling the heat from your indoor air and dispersing it outside.

This process is done by manipulating the pressure in the refrigerant circuit. If the warm air is stopped from blowing over the coils, those coils will become too cold and freeze. There are many reasons for your air conditioner to become frozen, including issues with pressure and airflow.

Moisture Can Cause Problems

If you live in an area with high humidity, it can cause problems with freezing. Moisture can cause ice to form on the coils. When that happens, the warm air cannot reach the coils. With more moisture in the air, there will be additional ice in your system. This process can cause your air conditioner and copper piping to freeze. In some cases, the ice can end up in your compressor.

Lack of Airflow

One of the most common problems with an air conditioner is the lack of airflow. Many things can cause these issues, including malfunctions of the blower to air intake blockages. If there are obstructions in the airflow, then the warm air cannot flow over the coil. However, the compressor will continue to operate with added stress. Once your air conditioner freezes up, it will continue to get worse over a period of time.

A collapsed duct is one reason for limited airflow. You need well-ventilated ductwork to move the air throughout your home. If something blocks the duct, then the air will not flow to the coils. Even if the system is working correctly, a collapsed duct will stop the airflow in your system. Once the warm air is restricted, the coils will freeze since that air cannot keep them at the proper temperature.

air duct

Your blower motor is an essential component in your system. Once the blower fan stops working, then the air will quit flowing over the coils. As you can tell, with limited air over the coils, there is a higher chance that the coils will freeze. If you hear any rattling sounds in your air conditioning system, you might need to call out a professional repair company. At Polar Air & Heating, Inc., we can help find the problem with your Las Vegas cooling system.

In some cases, your air conditioning freeze issues are due to home electricity. Low voltage to the fan can cause a variety of problems. Your air conditioner requires high-voltage to power many components. If you look at your summer energy bill, most of the costs are due to your air conditioner. When a blower or fan is underpowered, you will have issues with the airflow in your home.

air filter
Finally, a clogged air filter might be the easiest fix for your airflow problems. Many homeowners often neglect this component. Your filter collects all the dust and debris in your home, and it keeps the coils clean. When there is a collection of dust, airflow can become constricted. A filthy air filter can slow down airflow to a crawl and cause the coils to freeze up.

Dusty Coils

You want to change the air filter on your system about every other month. If you run the system without a filter, you could be putting your system at risk. When that dust blows on the damp coils, it can create a thick blanket of debris. Dust can act as an insulator and trap the cold air inside those coils. If you combine this process with additional moisture, it can freeze up the coils in your system.

Low Refrigerant

Your refrigerant could be another cause of freezing coils. You need the right level of coolant in the coils to manage pressure throughout your air conditioner. The compressor will compress the refrigerant after it releases the heat. When the warm air converts the liquid refrigerant into a gas, the pressure will drop. The compressor will compress the gas into a liquid and pump it towards the blower.

If there isn’t enough refrigerant in the unit, the compression process will occur too early due to a lack of pressure. The process needs cold air to condense that moisture onto the coils. When the process happens too early, then the whole system freezes. For that reason, you need to maintain the proper levels of refrigerant throughout your air conditioning system.

What to Do With a Frozen Air Conditioner

If you notice that your air conditioner is blowing warm air, you need to inspect your outside unit. You will want to turn the thermostat to the “off” position. Your unit will not blow out any cold air. With this action, your compressor will get a break, and the refrigerant will not get any colder. However, you can still leave the fan running in your system. That added airflow can start to melt ice and stop the problem. You will also want to check your air filter. If it is dusty or full, it needs to be changed immediately.

While this is a temporary fix, you still need to call a professional repair company. A frozen air conditioner is a dangerous situation, and it can permanently damage your entire unit. You want someone who can inspect and find the issue with your air conditioner. When you call the repair company, you need to let them know that it is an urgent call.

lennox ac unit

Once the technician arrives, you must explain the situation to help diagnose the problem and resolve any issues. If you turn off the compressor and call for service, a frozen air conditioner can be fixed.

Let Us Solve Your Cooling Issues

Since 1998, Polar Air & Heating, Inc. has been offering high-quality service for heating and cooling systems in Las Vegas, NV. We’re a BBB-accredited business that’s been designated a Lennox Premier Dealer and Mitsubishi Diamond Contractor. Our team can also work on all makes and models of heating and cooling systems. In addition to heating and cooling, we can also conduct indoor air quality tests in your home. When you need help with your Las Vegas home comfort systems, make sure to call Polar Air & Heating, Inc..
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