Icy AC coils are a common problem, but there are effective ways to prevent your AC coils from freezing. These tips can protect your comfort and your AC system. If the coils ice up, your air conditioner will cool your home less effectively or not work at all. The issue can also cause serious damage. But here are six ways to avoid it and costly AC repairs.
1. Replace the Filter Regularly
A dirty filter restricts airflow. The more clogged the filter becomes, the less air it will allow into the system. Low airflow can cause the coil to get too cold, so any moisture that collects on it instantly freezes. Then your AC can’t do its job.
Here’s why this is a problem. Normally, the unit draws in warm, humid air, which passes through the coil. Cold refrigerant in the coil pulls heat out of your home and circulates to the outdoor unit, where the heat is released into the air. If this process is disrupted, your AC will work harder to compensate and the compressor can overheat and fail.
2. Check the Thermostat
An issue with the thermostat can cause your AC to run longer or more frequently. If the AC coils are freezing, the unit may be working more than it needs to. Have the system checked by a professional if your home is too cold or the indoor temperature fluctuates. Also, check the thermostat often to ensure the actual indoor air temperature matches the set temperature. Change the batteries if the thermostat isn’t working properly or call a contractor to check for and fix any issues.
3. Clear the Condensate Drain
The condensate drain removes moisture that collects in the system. It allows an air conditioner to remove humidity from the air. However, condensate drain lines can get clogged. If water backs up, your AC won’t work properly and the coil can freeze up.
Check the drain regularly (and more frequently in the summer, when demand is the highest). If it’s blocked, turn off the AC, check the drain pan for standing water, and remove any water you find. The drain line can then be cleared using a shop vacuum or wet vac. You can also use distilled vinegar or a mild cleanser to clean the drain, but if the problem recurs, call a technician. They’ll use specialized tools to unclog and clean it.
4. Increase the Fan Speed
Proper airflow prevents AC coils from freezing. But if the fan doesn’t blow air strong enough, there’s a greater risk of a frozen coil. A damaged blower fan or faulty fan motor can also lead to a problem. Call a contractor if you can’t adjust the fan speed or if the airflow seems weak. An HVAC technician can fix or replace the fan/motor. During a service call, they can check the fan’s rotational speed and direction as well as its power output to identify any problems to fix.
5. Keep Vents Open
Keep as many supply and return vents open as possible. Closing more than a couple of them can restrict airflow and lead to a frozen AC coil. Also, move furniture and other items that are blocking vents. Closing vents and registers in unoccupied rooms doesn’t save money or energy as many people believe.
6. Have a Technician Check the Refrigerant Level
Your AC system circulates refrigerant through a series of tubes to regulate air temperature. If there’s a leak and levels get too low, these coils can freeze. Check for a coolant leak if your air conditioner provides less cool air, cooling cycles get longer, or the coils keep freezing up.
In addition, call for help if there are bubbles on the coil or you hear hissing noises from your AC system. A technician will clean up the chemical and either seal the leak or replace the damaged coil.
Contact Monarch Home Services
These tips should help whether you have dealt with AC coils freezing or want to prevent the issue. But when your AC freezes up or otherwise doesn’t work properly, Monarch Home Services’s NATE- and EPA-certified technicians will get it working again. Our team can address any problem with any make, model, or type of AC. They’ll also check for hidden issues to fix before they get worse.