As ironic as it may sound, air conditioner freezing up outside unit happens a lot during summertime. If this occurs within your household, it sure can stir you with worries, especially when dealing with a blistering hot temperature. Although this is considered a typical issue, it isn’t usual for your AC unit to freeze up.
If your AC’s outside unit is freezing, something causes its refrigerant levels to decrease. As a result, it can then freeze the evaporator coil or the condenser coil. One looming signal can be your AC turning on and off frequently.
But why and how does this happen?
Well, several things can cause this. And before you tap in SOS to your local HVAC professional, we rounded up a few of the most common reasons behind this and how you can address them.
1. Your Air Filter Might Be Clogged
Your air conditioner freezing up outside unit might be because your air filter is clogged.
AC units must have a constant airflow so humidity does not settle on the coils and cause freezing. An accumulation of dirt and grime usually causes clogs in the filter. If an AC’s air filter has blockages, there is a restriction on the air that passes over the evaporator coil. It disrupts the usual flow of the warm indoor air from your home. In turn, it places a massive strain on the system.
Once this ensues, the refrigerant temperature descends and starts to freeze. If left unaddressed, this will take a toll on your whole AC system’s function.
Recommendations to Fix This: Cleaning your clogged air filter is always the first option. Ensure that you rid it of all the dirt and debris that might affect the normal airflow. The next option would be to have your air filter replaced. Aside from the fact that it gives you a spotless slate, HVAC professionals recommend having air filters replaced regularly to prevent the circulation of allergens.
2. Evaporator Coils are Dirty
As indoor air travels to your AC, dust comes alongside it. Although your filter helps screen most of it, it can’t capture it all. As time goes by, dust and dirt debris can cling and accumulate on your AC unit’s evaporator coil. When left unchecked, it could be another factor why you are experiencing the air conditioner freezing up outside unit.
Never underestimate the effect of dirt covering your evaporator coils. If grime cakes these coils, airflow becomes restricted. Even a thin layer of its pile can act as a barrier between the warm air and the cold evaporator coil.
If this keeps happening, the evaporator coil won’t get sufficient contact with the warm unconditioned air. As a result, the refrigerant temperature will continuously drop and then cause freezing.
Recommendations to Fix This: Call a professional to clean your evaporator coils. Since these coils contain refrigerants that can be harmful to your health, one must have the right equipment to perform the cleaning. Only HVAC professionals know how to best handle this problem. It is one reason why you should have your regular AC maintenance checks.
3. Your AC Might Have a Refrigerant Leak
Refrigerants function as the absorber of heat from the indoor air. Once their levels kink and stoop low, your system won’t be able to absorb as much heat as it must do. It can then cause the air conditioner freezing up outside unit.
Refrigerant leaks occur when there are small holes where refrigerants escape. As a result, the recommended amount of refrigerant goes below the average level. Because the refrigerant functions as an essential part of the AC unit to ensure temperature regulation, this becomes a problem. Once a temperature drop occurs on the refrigerant, the AC’s coil will eventually freeze over. The reason is that it becomes less pressurized with such an inadequate amount.
Aside from inefficacy in cooling your home, it also takes a toll on your power consumption bills. If you disregard this issue, it might lead to more problems in the future and cause system failure.
Recommendations to Fix This: Refrigerants are gases that can impact your health negatively. We strongly advise you not to manage the issue on your own. This issue is best handled by an HVAC professional. You must consult them to diagnose and fix the problem as they have the proper knowledge and skills.
4. Problematic Air Vents
Air vents pull in warm air towards your AC unit. They suck in the air from your home before it is processed to be cooled down. The AC system functions by getting this warm indoor air and then stripping it off heat. If there is not enough air coming from the air vents blown to the evaporator coil, this might be the culprit behind your air conditioner freezing up outside the unit.
If evaporator coils don’t get enough contact with warm indoor air, they will eventually freeze. It usually happens when there are obstructions that block the air vents. Curtains, furniture, or other objects that potentially block air restrict the proper airflow. As previously tackled, restricted airflow can lead the coil to ice up. Reducing the air blowing over the indoor coil is much like freezing caused by a dirty air filter. That is because there is a hindrance that acts as a barrier.
This issue can potentially wear and tear the AC system in the long run when ignored. Since it disrupts the normal function of the AC, it causes strain on the system. Hence, you can expect that other parts of the AC might be affected collaterally.
Recommendations to Fix This: Do a quick check of your vents to ensure no possible obstructions. Be sure that there is adequate space for air to circulate and be processed in your home.
Still not sure what’s causing your AC to freeze?
If you’re still clueless about why you have an air conditioner freezing up outside unit, there is no shame in calling it quits. It won’t hurt to ask the experts for advice. You will only be led to further frustrations trying to figure things out independently. They can diagnose the problem and address it as they are more knowledgeable in this aspect. You can also be at peace knowing that they know what they do!