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Why Do AC Units Ice Up?

Why Do AC Units Ice Up?

September 12, 2019

It might be hard to imagine your AC unit icing up in the Georgia heat. But it can happen. Different components in your AC system such as the evaporator coil, refrigerant lines, and outdoor unit can ice up for several reasons. This can cause your air conditioning system to malfunction, rendering you frustrated and probably overheated. The team at Bardi Heating, Cooling & Plumbing understands you don’t want to deal with the inconvenience that comes with a frozen AC unit. We’re here to answer that nagging question in your mind: Why do AC units ice up?

Reason 1: Low Refrigerant

Refrigerant is a coolant or cooling agent that plays an incredibly important role in keeping your home cool. It loops through the different components of your air conditioner, changing between liquid and gas to absorb and remove heat from the indoor air. Your AC doesn’t create cool air—it absorbs heat from your home, and it is able to do that because of refrigerant.

That’s why when your air conditioner has low refrigerant, it is a problem. Your air conditioner is a closed-loop system, so it is built to not lose refrigerant. However, gaps and cracks in deteriorating refrigerant lines can lead to a leak, causing refrigerant levels to drop. As a result, the refrigerant lines behind your outdoor unit can freeze up.

To solve this problem, turn off your unit and get in touch with an HVAC technician you trust. You can’t add refrigerant to your AC unit or repair the leak by yourself. It is a dangerous chemical and the law requires a licensed professional to handle it.

Reason 2: Poor Air Flow

Poor airflow, usually resulting from a clogged air filter, can also be a reason why your AC unit, specifically your evaporator coil, is icing up. When your air conditioner sucks in warm indoor air from the vents, the air blows over the evaporator coil which contains cool refrigerant. The refrigerant absorbs the heat from the air, causing it to condense on the coil. However, if the airflow is blocked, warm air doesn’t blow over the evaporator coil and the cool leftover condensation freezes up.

To fix this problem, turn off the AC unit and let the ice thaw for a few hours. In the meantime, replace the dirty air filter.

Reason 3: Dirty Evaporator Coil

If there is no airflow issue in your home and your evaporator coil is still freezing up, there is a chance that the coil needs cleaning. Just as a dirty air filter obstructs warm air from blowing over the evaporator coil, so does the dirt or dust on the evaporator coil. The excess dirt would prevent warm air from touching the evaporator coil, leading the coil to freeze up.

To tackle this problem, turn off the air conditioner and call a technician to clean your evaporator coil.

Reason 4: Issues with Drainage

This is something that occurs in the upcoming winter months. When refrigerant in the evaporator coil absorbs heat and moisture from the warm air, condensation occurs and usually falls into the drip pan and goes out through a condensate pipe. However, if the drain pan is full or there is a blockage in the drainpipe, the backed-up water can freeze due to the cold weather.

The best solution to this would be to thaw it using warm water to melt the ice. In addition, you can insulate the pipes by using weather-proof sleeves around the drain.

Call Bardi Heating, Cooling & Plumbing For All Your HVAC Needs!

If your AC continues to freeze up even after you have tried different solutions, get in touch with the pros at Bardi Heating, Cooling & Plumbing. Our knowledgeable experts will fix the problem in no time. Call us today or schedule an appointment online!