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Air Conditioner Frozen Evaporator Coil
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An air conditioner frozen evaporator coil issue isn’t a rare case. You might be one of those people who walked past their outdoor unit, only to see it with ice even on a hot day. Although it might be a bizarre sight, this scenario happens. And sometimes, it occurs during the peak of the hottest time of the year, which can be frustrating. 

In this article, we will be going behind what causes your evaporator coils to freeze and how you can handle them before you place that call to your trusted HVAC technician. 

What is the role of the evaporator coil?

We sure know the worries that an air conditioner frozen evaporator coil brings. But before we dissect the possible causes, let’s have a brief background of what these coils are and what they do.

To be able to cool your household, your air conditioner transports heat from one part to another. The evaporator coils act as containers for refrigerants housed within the loops. Its primary function is to cool them down to ensure proper heat absorption. Once the refrigerant goes to the circuit’s internal portion, its molecules expand. Because of such expansion, it absorbs the indoor air’s heat, leading to cooling. It works hand in hand with a condenser coil to provide a comfortable indoor temperature. 

Cause #1: Issues with the Refrigerant 

Another factor leading to an air conditioner frozen evaporator coil is the refrigerant levels. 

With two known kinds, Freon and Puron, refrigerants function by ridding heat from the indoor air acquired. Since they run within an enclosed system, you won’t need to refill or replace them as they are not reducing in levels as your AC functions. Unless you have a refrigerant leak somewhere, that’s where you pitch in possible repairs. 

Refrigerant leaks come from the usual wear and tear throughout time. It is where refrigerants escape and leave your AC system. Usually, they go unnoticed for long periods before they pop as a problem. When your air conditioner has low refrigerant levels, this strains your HVAC system. Once this happens, ice builds on the evaporator coils and freezes them. 

Solution: Refrigerants are not something you can work on with DIY tips and tricks. A call to your trusted AC technician is necessary to check possible leaks and restore refrigerant levels to standard. 

Cause #2: Dirt in your Evaporator Coils

Dirt build-up can surely bring you an air conditioner frozen evaporator coil. 

Once dust and grime accumulate around the evaporator coils, they can cause malfunction. This build-up can hinder your air conditioner’s evaporator coils’ efficacy in transferring the refrigerant to the heat pump. Your air conditioner will begin to have an issue with the heat exchange process. In return, the condensation becomes colder. As a result, you will be straining your AC unit more than usual, potentially leading to freezing.  

Solution: The evaporator coils need regular cleaning to ensure they are in their best shape. We strongly advise against doing this on your own, as the evaporator coils contain refrigerants. Refrigerants could be a potential risk to your health and are hazardous. It is one reason why you must schedule your regular AC maintenance checks, as AC professionals know how to maintain them properly. You will be at ease knowing your coils are clean while also preventing future issues. 

Cause #3: Drainage Issues

Do you have an air conditioner frozen evaporator coil? Well, it could be a result of a drainage problem.

If you live in a location where the climate is incredibly humid than others, your evaporator coils tend to work extra. Primarily, this is because it needs to exert more effort than usual in getting rid of the heat of the indoor air. After the process of the removal of heat, condensation forms before your system drains it. It is a constant cycle unless you encounter a clog on these drainpipes. Once a drainpipe has an obstruction, it can lead to the water backing up and freezing within your evaporator coils. The frozen water (condensation) then aggravates the issue. 

Solution: To address the issue, you need to free your drainpipes of possible clogs. During the inspection, the ice might have already melted. But if not, you can help speed up the process. DIY fixes include thawing the ice with your hair blower, but you must do this with extreme caution. Make sure you are not doing more harm than good, as it can worsen your problem. Like any other air conditioner issue, you can never be wrong in asking for help from your trusted AC technician.

Cause #4: Problems with the Airflow 

The issue with your air conditioner frozen evaporator coil might be from an airflow issue. 

When there is an inappropriate airflow coming from your blower, it might freeze your evaporator coils. It might happen due to several things, but the most common reason is a dirty air filter. It’s no surprise since dirty air filters are the root of all problems for an HVAC unit. A good air filter test to see if you need replacement is to shine a light on it and see if the rays get through. If it doesn’t, it’s time to get new ones.

Other possible reasons for poor airflow in the system are: 

  • Dirty air handler and heat pump 
  • Fan or Blower motor malfunction
  • Improper filter size
  • The filter is too tight
  • Blockage in the return grills
  • Closed vents
  • Damaged ductwork

Solutions: You can usually resolve airflow problems with DIY cleaning and your air filter replacement. Although some might need cleaning, repairs and maintenance, they are easy to fix. Experts recommend cleaning and replacing your air filter regularly to avoid any problems. It would help your air conditioning unit remain at its optimum efficiency. 

You should also examine if there is appropriate airflow through your vents and registers. Some homeowners tend to block or close the vents in unoccupied spaces in the belief that it will save them money. However, this is a misleading practice. As a matter of fact, you have to make sure you unblock all vents and registers within your home. Obstructions blocking the vents could lead to a restricted airflow which causes issues. 

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