Your air conditioning system is working fine until one day ….it just isn’t. You shut off the power to the A/C at the thermostat, and remove the cover of the indoor unit to try to see if there is any obvious reason for the problem. Then you see something you’re not expecting to see in the middle of summer….a frozen air conditioner coil that is completely covered in ice.
How can this happen? To help you understand, we’ll look at the basics of how your air conditioner works. When the air handler blows warm air over the coil, the refrigerant inside the coils absorbs the heat and cools off the air. This cooling process also dehumidifies the air, causing condensation. The moisture from condensation usually drips off safely into the condensate drain. But when the airflow of your air conditioner is restricted, it can cause this condensation to freeze right on the coil. As long as this continues, more layers of ice start to build up. This can result in a thick layer that completely encloses the coil.
There are several reasons for a frozen air conditioner coil:
- An extremely dirty furnace filter can result in total blockage of airflow
- A dirty coil (often the result of no filter or a filter that hasn’t been changed in a long time) can also cause restricted airflow
- An outdoor unit that is completely covered in cottonwood or other debris
- Low coolant levels cause by a leak somewhere in the system
- Vents blocked by furniture, heavy curtains, or other items that seriously restrict airflow
While you wait for the technician to arrive, you can simply leave the unit shut down. Or you can help speed the thawing process by turning the fan on low. You can also go around your house to check to see that there is nothing blocking any of the return air registers that could have contributed to the problem in the first place. Or if you feel confident about trying to fix the issue yourself, you might want to read this article from HVAC.com.
If the frozen air conditioner coil is caused by low levels of refrigerant in the system, some HVAC companies will offer the temporary fix of “topping it off” to bring the level back up. The technicians from Star Heating and Cooling will never simply top off the level without finding the leak in the system that caused the problem in the first place. If you live in the Hamilton and Marion County area and need assistance, please call us at 317-753-0279. We are dedicated to helping you keep your home comfortable, so we offer free emergency service 24/7. Our technicians will have your air conditioning back up and running in no time.