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May 11 2021

What Causes My AC Unit to Freeze Up? 

When it comes to air conditioning in the dead of an Illinois or an Indiana summer, the common thought is the colder, the better. While this may be true as it pertains to the temperature of air that’s blowing into your home, one thing that you want to avoid at all costs is your air conditioner freezing. If an air conditioner freezes up, you won’t get the cold air you want and you’ll need to invest in maintenance and repairs. Here’s what you should know about the causes of a frozen AC and what to do if your air conditioner freezes up–

What Causes an AC Unit to Freeze?

The refrigerant that’s within an AC unit is the magic ingredient that creates cool air. But refrigerant can get so cold that it actually needs warm air to blow across the coils to keep them from freezing. If this process is disrupted, the coils can freeze–ice will literally form around them–and the performance of your air conditioner will be compromised.

Things that can disrupt the normal process of air slightly warming the coils include:

  • Poor airflow. A proper stream of airflow is critical for keeping the refrigerant and coils warm enough to prevent freezing. The most common cause of freezing is a lack of airflow. This might be the result of a broken blower, a faulty fan, a clogged air filter, or a blocked air duct in your home. 
  • Dust and debris. Another common cause of freezing is dust and debris that accumulates on the coils. This is almost always the result of not changing your filters, which is why replacing filters regularly is so important. 
  • Low refrigerant levels. This might seem counterintuitive–how could low refrigerant levels lead to freezing? The answer is that low refrigerant levels can impact how your unit manages pressure. The compressor unit that’s outside the home compresses the refrigerant and sends it towards the house; the blower fan then blows the warm air over the coils. If there’s not enough refrigerant, the lack of pressure will just condense moisture onto the coils, which will then instantly freeze.

What to Do if Your AC Is Frozen

The first thing that you should do if you notice that your AC is frozen is to turn it off immediately. Allowing it to continue running will only worsen the problem. Next, call a professional who can perform basic maintenance or AC repairs as soon as possible.

At Van Drunen Heating & Air Conditioning, we are here to perform AC maintenance and repairs when you need them. To learn more about our services and what to do if your AC unit is frozen, call us directly today! 

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