Frozen Air Conditioner | HVAC Troubleshooting
What you will learn from this article:
- the major two reasons why your air conditioner has ice on somewhere (otherwise you likely wouldn't be here)
- the difference between a heat pump and an air conditioner in winter and summer operation
- why air flow is essential to a central air conditioning system
- enough about HVAC refrigeration to help you determine the problem of a frozen air conditioner.
We have many other related articles. Please use the search feature to the right to help you find other related articles.Frozen Air Conditioner - This is a common problem for people and it can be caused from one of two things: refrigeration pipes. Others know they have this problem when they see the air handler and the pipes running into the air handler have ice. This in addition to a noticeable decline in cooling capacity is a sure sign you have frozen airconditioner problems that need to be resolved immediately. The best thing to do once you notice your air conditioner is frozen is to turn it off. If it is summer and you have a frozen heat pump (a heat pump provides heating and cooling using the process of refrigeration) you can turn it to heating mode and everything will defrost. However, be aware that if an excessive amount of ice is on the evaporator coil (located at the air handler usually inside the home) defrosting the frozen heat pump may overwhelm the condensation drain and you will have some water damage as a result. This may happen either way you defrost the system especially if the air handler is located in a hot attic. Turn the frozen air conditioner to the off position and turn the fan switch to on (manual on) on the thermostat selector switch. This will help aid the defrost of the frozen evaporator coil and the frozen air conditioning unit. This air conditioner can cause severe water damage because your air conditioner freezes up.
We have many other related articles. Please use the search feature to the right to help you find other related articles.
Why is the Air Conditioner Frozen? Possible Cause Number OneThis is enough to cause concern because the air conditioner pipes have ice on them. Ice on the pipes is not normal. An airconditioner or heat pump is not designed to make ice. An air conditioning unit is designed to cool the home or business and it is abnormal for ice to form on an air conditioner. A heat pump will form frost or ice on the outside condenser coils in the winter time but frozen condenser coils is common and the heat pump is equipped with a method to defrost the condenser coils. To solve problem number one with the frozen air conditioner you need to look at airflow first. Every airconditioner or heat pump system is designed to have a specific amount of air flow go through the evaporator coil when the unit is in the cooling or air conditioning mode. Unless you have a high velocity air conditioning system the evaporator coil needs at least 400 cubic feet per minute (CFM) of airflow across the evaporator coil per ton of air conditioning. If you have a 3 ton air conditioning unit or heat pump you need 1200 CFM’s of airflow across the evaporator or the air conditioner will freeze up. This means that if you have a:
- Extremely dirty filter or
- Too many supply vents closed
- Collapsed duct work
- Bad blower motor
- Something obstructing the ductwork
- Dirt built up on the evaporator coil