Stay Cool: 5 Tips for Troubleshooting Frozen Evaporator Coils

air conditioner with techStaying frosty can be hard to do if your A/C conditioner’s evaporator coils are doing the same. Frozen The coils can cause your air conditioning system to stop working and prevent it from providing the cool, conditioned air it needs. The following offers a few crucial tips for troubleshooting frozen evaporator coils.(*5*)

Understand the Potential Causes of the Freeze-Up

When the evaporator coil absorbs the latent heat found in the surrounding air, it also reduces the air’s ability to hold large quantities of moisture in vapor form. The liquid condenses as the air cools and falls on the coil. It then drips into a catchpan underneath the coil.(*5*)

Since condensate regularly comes into contact with the evaporator coil, and the coil’s own external temperature hovers just above freezing, there’s always a possibility for frost to form on the coil’s surface. When ice sheets start to build up on the coil, this is when problems begin. The coil will become covered in ice and prevent the refrigerant inside from absorbing heat. It can also cause the unit’s cooling effectiveness to decrease.(*5*)

Airflow blockages can also lead to frozen evaporator coils. The coils will ice up if there is not enough air moving through them.(*5*)

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Give the Frozen Evaporator Coils Time to Thaw

For your first step, turn the air conditioning system off and give the frozen evaporator coils a chance to thaw out. The circuit breaker can turn the unit off to do this. Left to its own devices, it could take up to 24 hours for the coils to thaw completely.(*5*)

You can speed this process up somewhat with the help of a hair dryer, especially if you need your A/C unit up and running as soon as possible. You should not heat the coil of the evaporator or the lines that run to it.(*5*)

For cases of moderate frost, you can leave your HVAC unit on and set it to “fan only.” This allows air from the blower fan to melt away the frost without shutting the unit down.(*5*)

Check the Airflow

The next step involves checking the A/C system for adequate airflow. Most likely, the air filters will be clogged with debris and dust. This can prevent airflow from being unhindered. Simply replace the air filter and vacuum the surrounding intake housing for good measure.(*5*)

Make sure the evaporator coil itself is free of dust and debris. If you spot any debris or see algae and mold growing on the coil’s surface, don’t hesitate to clean the coils. Keep in mind that it’s easy to damage the aluminum fins lining the evaporator coil, so this may be a job better suited for your HVAC technician.(*5*)

Inspect for Physical Damage

Check the evaporator coil for any signs of physical damage. Damaged fittings and bent coil fins can lead to icing problems. Before you use your air conditioner again, make sure to repair any damage.(*5*)

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Check Refrigerant Levels

Low refrigerant levels can create a low pressure environment within the refrigerant lines, making the evaporator coil’s external temperature fall below freezing. This causes the coil’s condensate to freeze. Low refrigerant levels usually occur due to a leak in your A/C system. It could be a fitting, defective valve, or even the pinhole leak inside the evaporator coil.(*5*)

Your HVAC technician is best equipped to deal with your air conditioner’s refrigerant issues, since measuring and recharging refrigerant is often a dangerous task that requires special tools and know-how.(*5*)

If you want to learn more about dealing with frozen evaporator coils, check out the latest in A/C service from the pros at McWilliams & Son Heating & Air, or homeowners in Lufkin, Nacogdoches and surrounding areas can give us a call today at 936-465-9191 to schedule an appointment.(*5*)

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