A frozen-over A/C system can be of cold comfort on a hot day. Keeping your A/C system well maintained can help prevent this minor annoyance from becoming a major headache. Here are a few tips you can use to prevent ice buildup from getting in the way of your cooling comfort.
Check Your A/C System's Refrigerant Levels
The vast majority of freeze-ups experienced by residential air conditioning systems are usually caused by low refrigerant levels. Your A/C system requires a certain amount of refrigerant in order to perform properly. If a slow leak or some other problem causes the refrigerant level to drop beyond a certain point, the corresponding drop in system pressures can cause frost to form on the refrigerant lines.
To get an idea of how this can happen, try emptying out a can of compressed air. As you use more compressed air, the pressure inside the can also drops, and the can itself becomes colder until it starts forming frost on the surface.
Operating your A/C system on low refrigerant can also be dangerous in its own right, as it could lead to potential compressor damage, among other issues. If you suspect low refrigerant levels to be at the root of your ice buildup issues, you should have an HVAC specialist take a look at your A/C system.
Check Your Blower Fan
Another common issue that can cause A/C freeze-ups is a lack of adequate airflow being produced by your A/C system's blower fan. In many cases, the fan may not be blowing fast enough to generate an adequate amount of air. Without enough air flowing over the evaporator coil, the coil could freeze over and prevent your A/C unit from working properly.
You should have your HVAC technician check your blower fan and make sure it's working properly. Your technician may check several facets of your blower fan, including its rotational speed and direction, power output, age, and overall wear and tear. Your technician will also check your thermostat settings to ensure your blower fan works as intended.
Change Your Air Filter on a Regular Basis
Air filter changes may not seem like they make much of a difference when it comes to your A/C system's performance, but it can prevent your unit from freezing over during operation. A clogged air filter can prevent indoor air from returning to the A/C system via the return air inlet. Similar to a blower fan problem, the evaporator coil can freeze over if there isn't enough air pushed through it.
To prevent clogs from becoming an issue with your A/C system, you should change your air filter at least once every three months. Don't forget that you can increase this interval to a monthly basis if you have allergies or other ailments that require increased indoor air quality for your home.
Check Your Drains
As your air conditioner removes heat and moisture from the warm and humid air it receives, that moisture condenses from a vapor into liquid form. It then subsequently collects within the condensate drip tray located below the evaporator coil. This liquid eventually drains outside or into a nearby indoor drain.
Clogs and other drainage issues can allow this water to back up and eventually overflow the tray. In extreme cases, the water that's backing up can freeze on the evaporator coil. The subsequent ice buildup can cause further drain blockages, exacerbating the situation at hand.
A dirty evaporator coil, condensate drip tray or drain line can cause clogs to form, resulting in water spills and potential freeze-ups. Keeping all of these components clean can help prevent these problems from occurring.
Cut Down on Nighttime Usage
Running your A/C system at night could be an invitation for freeze-ups. Cooler outdoor temperatures make it much easier for your A/C system to freeze over. To prevent your A/C system from icing over in the middle of the night, you might want to look for alternative ways to keep your home cool and comfortable at night. Nighttime alternatives to A/C usage can also help you save plenty of money on your annual utility costs.
Contact a company like #1 Air Source for more information.