How Do I Keep My Air Conditioner From Freezing Up? Ultimate AC Repair Guide

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air conditioner

Having an air conditioner will definitely keep you cool in the summer, but if you do not maintain it during hot months, it can actually freeze. People only know this when their unit churns out air that does not keep them cool, and when this happens, you can find yourself with an unnecessary bill to get your AC unit working again. Luckily, a frozen unit has a lot to do with airflow, so there are several things you can do even though you do not have the expertise of a professional HVAC service person. Check out more information at air conditioning repair Plano TX. 

1. Vents

The vents on your window or central unit keep air flowing over the cooling coils that allow your air conditioner to work. However, if the vents get blocked, the air cannot flow as freely. Consequently, on the outside of the unit, the air is warm. On the inside, the air gathers around the coils because it cannot get out. When trapped air condensates, it collects around the coils, and these coils have sub-freezing refrigerant inside them. Consequently, the moisture freezes. Left unattended, this ice thickens on the coils, and within a week or so of constant usage, your unit will be frozen. To make sure this does not happen, you should keep your vents free of debris blown in from storms or high winds. Additionally, you should vacuum the vents to keep them free of dust.

2. Filter

The filter is another potential blockage of air that will freeze your unit for the same reasons that clogged venting freezes it. Depending on the type of unit you have, the filter might be a flat one that filters the air as it blows out the front. However, it can also be a circular filter for certain units. In either case, many units have a sensor that will detect decreased airflow, and this sensor will trigger an LED light that will inform you of the lack of airflow. When notified, all you have to do is use a hand vacuum to clean the filter. Once it is clean, the filter will clean the air without blocking it, and your air conditioner will not freeze.

Eventually, of course, you will need to replace the filter as vacuuming it will destroy its ability to filter dust from the air. For the best results, you should change the air filter every month and vacuum it weekly until you change it.

3. Budgeting yourself into an extra bill

If you are like many people, you do not need to cool every room in your house. In situations where you have more rooms than you consistently use, incoming closing registers might divert air from unused rooms to rooms that require cooling. However, stopping air from flowing via the registers will ultimately work much like clogged vents or filters in that the air current will stagnate, and the air that hovers over coils will condense and freeze. If you have central AC, you should ensure that at least 75 percent to 80 percent of all your registers remain open. If you block too many registers, you will create stagnant pockets of air. Ultimately, you might need to call a repair technician to thaw your AC.

4. High fan speed

Keeping your fan on low might seem like a good way to save money on electricity, but the air that has already been cooled by your coils needs to keep going out the vents or condense and freeze. A good way to remember that keeping your fan on low is not cost-effective is to remember that the power required to run the fan on medium or high speed is not significantly higher than the power needed to run the fan on low. It certainly is not worth the cost of having to call a technician to thaw your AC.

5. Tilted window units

Whenever you are installing a window unit, you need to ensure the AC is tilted at 10 to 15 degrees. If you install your AC unit so that it remains perfectly level with the ground, drainage will not be able to seep toward the drain holes near the far end of the drain pan. When this happens, the water will pool, and it could freeze around the lower coils. In order to achieve the correct angle during installation, you should slide a couple of shims beneath the AC unit. A good rule of thumb is to prop the AC unit upward approximately .5 inches for every 12 inches that hang out the window.

6. Proper refrigerant levels

If your AC unit has low refrigerant levels, you could end up with frozen coils. This might sound illogical, but a drop in refrigerant levels will cause a subsequent pressure decline in the coils. A pressure decline in the coils results in the same problem that every other malfunction results in pooling air. When air pools as a result of low pressure in the coils, the coils will end up icing over, and over a matter of a few weeks, you will end up with a thick layer of ice over your coils. Because the average person cannot add refrigerant to an AC unit, you must have a service technician inspect your unit on an annual basis. During the inspection, they can let you know if your AC unit is running low on refrigerant.

7. Inspections

Even if you have a window unit that is properly installed at the appropriate angle, it is still necessary to inspect the drainage flow regularly. Doing so will allow you to determine if any clogs are preventing proper drainage. If running the AC unit does not result in dripping water from the drainage hole, you probably have a blockage. You can clear it with a pipe cleaner inserted upwards into the draining hole, but this method only clears the hole. It does not clear any blockages in the drain pan. To clear the drain pan, you can remove the AC unit’s outer casing and wipe up any grime. In either situation, it is necessary to continue inspecting the unit even after you have cleared the drain.

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