Have you ever noticed your air conditioner spitting out water or little chunks of ice? Or maybe you hear the faint sound of water dripping onto the floor under the air conditioner vent? Visions of broken air conditioners and sky-high repair bills are probably dancing through your head, but before you let those visions dance away with your pocket book, take a second to see if your air conditioner is just frozen.
What Causes Air Conditioners to Freeze?
There are many reasons that can cause your air conditioner to freeze up, especially in Riverside or other Southern California cities. Our desert climate means we’re using our A/C units often! Factors like improper air flow or low refrigerant can all be reasons why your air conditioner isn’t cooling properly. Let’s take a look at 5 of the most common factors that can cause your air conditioner to freeze up.
1.) Low Refrigerant Levels- Whether you have a refrigerant leak or the refrigerant levels were charged incorrectly, low refrigerant levels can lead to a frozen air conditioner. When the refrigerant is not at the right level the condenser coil in your air conditioner can become too cold resulting in the freeze.
2.) Closed or blocked Supply Registers- Closing vents in unoccupied rooms is a well-known way to save money and energy. However, if too many get closed it causes inadequate air flow which leads to a frozen air conditioner. Make sure no more than 25% of your supply registers are closed to avoid air flow problems.
3.) Dirty Air Filter- Has it been a while since you have changed the air filter on your HVAC unit? Dirty air filters are one of the main causes of low air flow and add extra stress on the rest of your unit. When air flow is impacted the coil does not get enough warm, humid air to keep it from freezing. Monthly air filter changes can help keep good air flow moving through your HVAC unit.
4.) Drainage Problems- During the cooling process, your air conditioner condenses water vapor into a liquid that then drains outside. If the coils become frozen, the ice around the coils can cause the drainage hole to become blocked. Your air conditioner still runs, but it isn’t properly cooling down your home.
5.) Thermostats- A thermostat that is set too low or is starting to go bad can cause your air conditioner to run constantly which can drop the temperature of the condenser below freezing. Most outdoor air conditioners do not perform well in temperatures below 60 degrees Fahrenheit. If the temperature outside falls too low your unit may not function properly and freeze ups can occur.
What Can I do when my Air Conditioner Freezes?
So you’ve noticed that your air conditioner is frozen, but what can you do to rectify the problem to prevent any damage?
1.) Turn off your unit- First things first, turn your air conditioner completely off at the thermostat. This will prevent you from wasting money and energy, as well as prevent risking damage to the compressor.
2.) Wait for the ice to melt – While waiting for the ice to melt, see if you can find your air conditioner’s drain and make sure it is clear of debris and twigs.
3.) Check your air filter and supply registers- Another thing to do while waiting for the ice to melt is to check your air filter and make sure your supply registers are open and unobscured.
4.) Time the air conditioner cycle – Once you believe the ice has melted, try turning your air conditioner back on. If the unit responds, is blowing cool air, and you do not hear a stuttering-like sound, your unit is more than likely unfrozen. Keep an eye on your air conditioner and make sure it shuts off when it reaches the temperature set on your thermostat. If it precedes to run even after cooling to the set temperature, contact us to schedule an appointment for any necessary repairs and ensure your unit is working properly.
Air Conditioner Service in Riverside, CA
It is important to remember that air conditioners are complicated systems which need regular maintenance. If they are not cared for, they suffer serious damage. The best way to prevent a frozen air conditioner is to perform regular maintenance to keep your unit working in tip top shape. If you are constantly battling a frozen HVAC system in Riverside or other Inland Empire city, call us today.