Air Conditioner Freezing Issue Causes and Solutions


  June 29th 2020            👤   Aircon Heroes Team

Freezing issues may be affecting the performance of your air conditioner. If your aircon is not working properly, you may be able to see frozen ice over the fins and evaporator coils by lifting up the aircon cover. There are a number of reasons for this situation.

When the ice starts forming up over the evaporator coils and the fins, it blocks proper air flow. Besides affecting your air conditioner’s performance, an air conditioner freezing issue may cause further damage to the components inside the unit. Let’s take a look over the causes of air conditioner freezing:

Dirty Air Filters

The most common cause of ice formation in an aircon is dirty air filters. When the air from the room reaches the air filters of the indoor unit, dust particles and debris in the air can get trapped in the filters. The temperature of the clean air is lowered as it passes over the evaporator coils, and is circulated within your indoor environment.

However, over time, the accumulation of dust particles can stop the air indoors from reaching the evaporator coils. When a dirty air filter restricts airflow, there’s not enough air passing through the system to transfer heat from your home to the refrigerant.

Previously, the warm air from your indoor environment was balancing the cold temperature of these evaporator coils but now it cannot do so because of the blockage from the dirty air filters. As a result, the temperature of the evaporator coils can get excessively cool, such that any moisture on the coils turns to ice. 

Dirty or Clogged Evaporator Coils and Fins

Sometimes, the dust particles are not trapped by the air filters and they reach the evaporator coils and fins inside the aircon unit. As a result, these dust particles get trapped in the fins. As the evaporator coils are responsible for lowering the temperature of air that passes over, the air from your indoor environment that circulates through the air conditioning unit should be able to reach the coils. When dust particles contaminate the fins and evaporator coils, however, the passage of incoming air to the evaporator coils is obstructed. This similarly causes the evaporator coils to freeze over.

Low Outside Temperatures

When the temperature outside drops, it can affect the performance of your air conditioner. For an air conditioner to work efficiently, the temperature outside has to be relatively higher than the temperature indoors. But sometimes, especially at night, the temperature outside can become cold enough that the heat transfer mechanism gets disturbed. As a result, the flow of heat through the pipes also gets disturbed and the indoor unit faces the same situation. This can ultimately cause the evaporator coils to freeze over.

Low Refrigerant Level

When there is some leakage in your evaporator coil, the refrigerant level in the pipes can drop suddenly. The sudden drop in refrigerant level means there is now a smaller quantity that is forced to expand just as much as normal refrigerant levels. Since the refrigerant now expands more, its temperature drops, which can cause icing around the evaporator coil. 

The problem with a refrigerant leak is that it not only results in an air conditioner freezing issue, it can also damage the compressor and the entire unit if it is not dealt with care. Whenever there is a refrigerant leak, you should contact a HVAC service provider to check the system and to refill the refrigerant to the appropriate level.

How to Avoid Freezing in an Air Conditioner?

Clean Air Filters

You should schedule a routine for cleaning your air conditioner filters on a regular basis. The dirt in the air filters affects the performance of the evaporator coils and that is why you have to clean it regularly. It not only helps to prevent an air conditioner freezing issue but will also improve the aircon’s cooling performance in your indoor environment.

Clean the Fins and Evaporator Coils

Although the air filter blocks the passage of dust particles to the fins and evaporator coils, there has to be timely maintenance of these components. Sometimes, the fins can get dirty enough to result in freezing of the evaporator coils. If you have not installed the air filters with care, it may also bend the fins over the evaporator coils. In that case, it will be difficult for incoming air to reach the evaporator coils as well. 

It is better to clean the fins and evaporator coils regularly, so as to improve the performance of the unit and prevent unexpected freezing problems.

Maintain the Refrigerant Level Inside the Coils

This is a job that requires experienced skills. A professional HVAC technician is the best person to check the level of the refrigerant in your air conditioning unit. The level of refrigerant should be assessed before it is refilled to the desired level.


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