The summer is upon you, and as the temperatures rise, you rely more and more on your trusty central air conditioner. However, one morning you turn on the A/C expecting to feel a cold blast of air when all of the sudden, you notice the unit isn't working. Upon further inspection, you discover something very strange: your air conditioning unit is frozen! Don't panic because this is a common problem, and typically, there are only two reasons why your air conditioner has decided to freeze in the middle of summer. Here are the two of the most common reasons why air conditioners freeze when it is hot outside and how to remedy the situation:
Reason Number One: Improper Air Flow to the Coils
Although it might seem like a complicated system, the way in which your air conditioning unit works is rather simple. There are two main coils that are responsible for eliminating the hot air from your home and releasing it outdoors: the evaporator coil and condenser coil.
The evaporator coil is actually located inside your home inside the air handler. It's the first step of eliminating the warm air that is found outside of your home. The evaporator coil is constructed from copper, aluminum, or steel, which are all excellent heat conductors. The coil is filled with refrigerant, and it's that refrigerant's job to absorb the heat that is inside your home. Once the heat is removed from the air, the cold air is then circulated back through your home via your HVAC's ductwork.
The condenser core is located in the outside air conditioning unit. The job of the condenser coil is very simple: it releases the heat that was trapped in the evaporator coil outside of your home.
In order for your evaporator and condenser coils to remove warm air from your home, they must be supplied with a constant source of air. When the coils don't receive enough air, the condensation that naturally forms on the coils is frozen by the refrigerant.
Luckily, the reason why your air conditioner isn't being supplied with a sufficient amount of air to prevent the condensation from being frozen by the coolant is easy to locate: a dirty air filter or dirty coils. To locate the air filter, check your air conditioner's manual, or consult a professional for additional assistance.
If the problem is a dirty evaporator or condenser coil, don't attempt to clean them yourself, and instead, contact a professional for assistance. Cleaning air conditioning coils requires knowledge, expertise, and the correct tools.
Reason Number Two: A Refrigerant Issue
Once again, in order for your air conditioner to work properly, it must contain an adequate amount of refrigerant. If the refrigerant is leaking, the evaporator and condenser coils become too cold, which in turn leads to the formation of ice.
If you discover a refrigerant leak in your air conditioner, it's best to contact a professional for assistance. The professional will have the tools and equipment necessary to clean up the coolant spill, pinpoint the source of the leak, and perform the necessary repair. However, if the refrigerant leak is severe or if the air conditioning unit is older, your technician might recommend having it replaced.
According to Do It Yourself, a properly-maintained air conditioning unit will typically last around 20 years. If your unit is nearly the 20-year mark, or if it's even older and you're having problems, you might recommend replacing it with a newer, more energy-efficient model.
It can be very disconcerting to discover your air conditioner has frozen during the hottest months of the year. However, with the help of a professional, it is easy to diagnose the reason your air conditioner is covered with ice and fix the issue. For more information, contact a company like A-1 American Services.