Unfortunately, unlike Elsa from Frozen, your air conditioner does not do its best work when it’s iced over. There are plenty of reasons for your AC system to freeze up, some more serious than others. However, no matter what the underlying cause is, a frozen AC system will NOT cool your home.
But first… how can you tell if your AC system is frozen?
Maybe you already saw the ice buildup on your unit, which is a pretty obvious sign. However, if you notice that your system is having a hard time cooling, this can also be a sign that your system is freezing up. Put your hand over a supply register and feel the air coming out– is that air warm or cool? If it’s warm, follow the instructions below to protect your system from further damage and start the thawing process.
What To Do When Your AC Unit Freezes Up:
- Turn the thermostat from COOL to OFF.
- Turn the fan setting to ON.
- Schedule an appointment with your trusted Tampa air conditioning company.
Note: A technician will not be able to service your air conditioning system until after it has thawed. This can take up to 24 hours. Make sure to state the time at which you turned your system OFF when you schedule your appointment with a service company.
Need an appointment now? Schedule online with us below.
Now that you’re on the schedule and waiting for your technician to arrive, it’s time to do some research. What might be causing your AC system to freeze up? And how much is this going to cost you?
4 Reasons Your AC System Might Be Freezing Up
A Dirty Filter
This is one of the most common things we encounter when our customers report that their AC system is freezing up. Luckily, it’s also the most preventable! Your AC system can only perform as well as it can “breathe.” This means that in order for your system to perform effectively and efficiently, it needs to have proper airflow. If your filter is dirty, it’s the equivalent of making you run a mile while breathing through a straw— not a great way to get your cardio on, right? Make sure you’re changing your filter every month. If changing your filter is impossible or difficult given its location, let us know. We can perform this service for you for ultimate peace-of-mind!
A Refrigerant Leak
Refrigerant leaks are the source of all evil within your air conditioning system. Once you have a leak, it’s almost impossible for your system to perform until you get it fixed. These leaks are often pretty challenging to find, especially if they’re small– smaller leaks can go completely undetected using traditional leak-finding tools! That’s why we offer dye tests, where we insert fluorescent dye into your system. Our technicians then come back after several days with a UV light to see if the dye has leaked out anywhere within your system, typically from your evaporator coil. See below for a picture behind-the-scenes!
If your evaporator coil is leaking refrigerant, you might have an expensive repair on your hands. If your system is new or protected by warranties, you should simply replace you coil. However, if your system is old and unprotected by labor or replacement warranties, you might be better off replacing your entire system. This is especially true if your system uses R22, an outdated refrigerant that will no longer be sold starting THIS YEAR. Read more here.
A Dirty Evaporator Coil
Even if your evaporator coil isn’t leaking, it might still be dirty enough to cause your system to freeze up. If you aren’t receiving regular maintenance through an annual service agreement, your evaporator coil likely hasn’t been touched since it was installed as a part of your air conditioning system. Over time, your evaporator coil can become dirty and bogged down with debris, especially if you aren’t prioritizing air filtration. Dirty evaporator coils can be cleaned most effectively through a “pull-and-clean,” where we pull the evaporator coil out to do a thorough cleaning and then return it back to its home within your air conditioner. This can be done only if your evaporator coil is dirty and NOT rusted. Rusty coils are frequently the cause behind refrigerant leaks… AKA it’s time to replace that coil.
If you’ve learned one thing from this blog, hopefully it’s this: investing in regular maintenance for your AC system is the only way to protect it from more serious and costly damage. For most homeowners, air conditioners are out of sight and out of mind… until they break down. Enrolling in a maintenance program keeps your system healthy year-round so you never have to worry about it. Ready to sign up?
Always remember that the World’s Smartest Technicians are here to serve you whenever your Tampa AC system breaks down! So if you have more questions, text us by pressing the green P button in the bottom right corner of your screen. We’re always here for you!