It may seem unlikely that your air conditioner could freeze in Florida, but it’s actually a fairly common occurrence. If you notice ice on the outside unit, whether it’s on the compressor or on the evaporator coils, you should turn off the system and keep it off for a few hours.
There are a number of factors that could have caused it to freeze, and there are a couple of things you can check before having an HVAC technician look at your system.
What to Do When Your Air Conditioner Coils Freeze Up
Check the Filter
Check the Airflow
Once your system has thawed, you should turn on the system’s fan and let it run for 90 minutes. During this time, check the air filter. If it’s obstructed by dirt and debris, a lack of airflow could be the reason it keeps freezing.
If your filter needs to be replaced, install a new one. It’s important to remember to do this every four weeks (or whatever the filter manufacturer instructions suggest). You can then turn the system back on to check if it’s working properly.
The second step is to check the cleanliness of other areas—registers, duct connectors, and ductwork—to make sure there’s no impediment to airflow. If you can, clean any dirty areas. However, you may prefer to have an HVAC technician professionally clean it and check your ductwork for leaks or possible damage.
In addition, lack of airflow could be caused by dirty evaporator coils, a shortage of return ducts, or improperly sized ducts.
If your unit is still freezing after addressing the two issues above, an HVAC technician will be able to diagnose the problem. Don’t take apart the air conditioner yourself or attempt to perform any maintenance on it. Some of the possible issues could be that there’s a problem with the refrigerant, there are mechanical problems, or you’re running your air conditioner when the outside temperature is too cool.
If your air conditioner is running low on refrigerant due to a possible leak, it can freeze up. This happens because the refrigerant in the evaporator coils can no longer absorb the heat needed for the coils to warm up. The more the refrigerant has to expand, the cooler it makes the temperature. If the temperature of the expander coil drops below freezing, the moisture outside will freeze when it comes into contact with it.
There can be any number of mechanical problems that can cause your unit to freeze up, including a blower fan that stopped running or is not in balance, an obstructed filter dryer, or a kink in the system’s refrigerant lines. All of these issues can have an effect on your system’s pressure, which can cause the unit to freeze.
This last one is highly unlikely since most of us living in Florida think 60 degrees is extremely cold, but if you are running your air conditioner when the temperature outside is fairly low (say that frigid 60-degree mark), the refrigerant has to expand again to match the outside temperature. As a result, the pressure inside of your system will drop, which can cause the outside unit to freeze.
Regardless of what caused your air conditioner evaporator coils to freeze up, one of Easy AC’s skilled HVAC technicians can diagnose the problem. To schedule an AC repair, contact us today at 813-COLD-AIR (265-3247).