Frozen Air Conditioner? What You Should Do

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A common problem during the humid monsoon season in Arizona is frost or ice on your air conditioner. Some homeowners assume that since their air conditioner unit is doing a really good job of cranking out cool air, it must get cold and might occasionally freeze over. However, this is not the case. A frozen air conditioner is an indication that your air conditioner is not working properly, and you should turn it off immediately and turn your fan from AUTO to ON.

What Are the Reasons for a Frozen Air Conditioner?

There are generally two reasons for frost or ice on an air conditioner unit – restricted airflow and/or low refrigerant. Probably the most common cause for ice on your air conditioner is low refrigerant due to a leak within the system. Constant wear and tear and relentless vibration can cause fittings to loosen and result in refrigerant leaks. If you notice the air coming from your vents is not as cold as it should be, or you have warm air blowing as well as frost or ice on your unit, very likely your refrigerant is low and needs to be replenished. A second cause for a frozen air conditioner has to do with restricted airflow due to dirty coils. These issues are best handled by an experienced technician with the proper tools to solve the issue.

How Does Refrigerant Affect My AC Unit?

Refrigerant is an essential ingredient to the cooling process. Often referred to as freon, R134, R22 or R410A, refrigerant converts from a gas to a liquid and back again in an endless cycle working with the other components of your AC unit to:

  • Transfer heat from inside your home, which is then blown outside as exhaust
  • Lowers the temperature of the cooling coils
  • Forcing cooled air into your home

If you AC system is low on refrigerant, the temperature will drop on the coils containing the refrigerant. The humidity in the air will freeze. This leads to frost or ice on the coils. As the ice builds up, the unit will need to work harder to maintain the proper temperature in your home. That’s why you should turn off your air conditioner as soon as you notice ice or frost. If this condition goes undetected, it can eventually lead to serious problems for your air conditioning system.

The 3 D’s – Dirt, Dust and Debris

Desert dust storms cause dirt, dust and debris to clog up the filters and coils in your AC system. Inefficient air flow can cause many problems for air conditioners. Dirty air filters can result in increased dust in the air inside your home. If your air conditioning unit has not been professionally cleaned recently, it might be a good idea to have it checked.

Ice Is Nice in Your Iced Tea, Not in Your AC

If you’ve noticed ice on your AC unit, it may be time for a fall service call. We will check your refrigerant for leaks, clean your coils, replace your filters and bring your entire unit up to snuff. We can also check your furnace so you’re ready for the coming winter season. Why not give us a call today?