Perhaps it has happened to you.
Your air conditioning system works fine for years. Then, suddenly, it stops cooling and you become concerned it may need an AC repair service . Maybe you’re a little handy and you check out the system yourself. So, you pull the access door off the indoor air handler and find a big block of ice.
There's your problem but what is the solution?
Read on to discover the 2 most common causes of a frozen coil:
In case it makes you feel any better, this happens a lot here in Florida and especially in New Port Richey.
Common cause 1) Blocked or restricted air flow
The coil inside your indoor section is called the evaporator coil. This coil acts like a radiator in your automobile except that it contains very cold refrigerant that is circulated from the compressor within your outdoor section, also known as the condensing unit.
If the airflow over this coil from the indoor fan is not kept at a certain minimum volume, this refrigerant reaches the freezing point due to a lack of heat absorption from the passing air. The next step is a big, frozen block of ice encases the coil itself.
This further prevents even the limited air from moving across the open fins and makes the problem even worse, sometimes leading to a very expensive compressor failure. And 99% of the time, this reduced air volume is caused by a VERY dirty filter.
Other times the filter has become dislodged and has been pulled up onto the coil where the air is restricted or redirected around the coil.
So what can you, Mrs. Homeowner, do about this? First, pull the filter and check it. If it is dirty, either clean or replace it. If it is dislodged, try to see why it became dislodged. Many times the filter got so dirty that it was just pushed out of place by the restriction it caused.
Other times it is not sized properly or was not re-inserted correctly after the last cleaning or replacement. These problems are very simple to fix yourself once you determine what caused the filter to become a restriction to the airflow.
The culprit is usually a dirty air filter and this is a simple problem to prevent.
How to de-ice a frozen indoor cooling coil
Simply shut the air conditioning system off and disconnect the power supply by either shutting off the breaker or flipping the shut-off switch placed right near most units today. Next, let the system defrost for an hour or two. If you are in a hurry, you can use a handheld hair dryer to speed up the process.
Once the ice has all melted, either clean or replace the filter (depending on the type you have). Then, restore the power and turn the system back to cooling and all should be good.
Common cause 2) Refrigerant leaks
This one is of much greater concern. Your A/C system is designed to operate within a given range of pressure and when a leak occurs, the pressure drops and ice begins to form on the coil. This problem, unfortunately, requires skill, training, and proper tools to repair. If it turns out the filter was not the problem, call your A/C repair expert and have them diagnose the leak.
Leaks can be very tough to isolate and even tougher to repair. If your system is less than 10 years old, chances are you have a 10 year warranty on all parts. You will have to cover the A/C contractor’s labor but the part may be covered by the manufacturer.
Your AC contractor can simply run the system serial numbers (which are on the equipment) and tell you for sure the status of your warranty.
Helpful hint – Not all technicians will alert you as to warranty possibilities so be sure to ask them to run the serial numbers and check. A system still within warranty can save you a ton of money when you have a major failure.
If you live in the New Port Richey area and need an A/C repair, call us for award winning service today
Feel that first wave of humidity? Spring is on the way and summer is right around the corner. This is one of the most beautiful and family-friendly times of year. Art Festivals and foliage regrowth are the bridge between the heating and cooling seasons here in New Port Richey.
But, these are the days when you should be begin prepping your home’s A/C system for the hot, humid days ahead.
Don’t be caught off guard when the heat settles in and your air conditioner breaks down just when you need it most. While a precision tune-up and professional cleaning should be on the agenda, here are a few simple steps you can take yourself to help prevent air conditioning repair and breakdowns.
1) Check your outdoor unit for leaves and debris buildup. Your cooling system works by transferring heat out of and away from your indoor living environment. This transfer works only when the coils that surround your outdoor unit are clean and unobstructed
2) Check for weeds and vines that have grown up and into the outdoor section of your AC system. Over time, these weeds and vines can block the transfer of heat from the outdoor cooling coil, causing a reduction in efficiency, a decrease in cooling capacity, and an increase in your utility costs.
3) Be sure the outdoor unit is elevated and supported by a solid concrete base. If the outdoor section is level with the ground moisture, buildup around the unit will cause premature rust and deterioration at the metal base of the unit. This, in turn, leads to a reduced life span and a dramatic increase in repair costs.
4) Be sure the outdoor doesn’t have growth or obstruction above or near it. If the fan that blows the heat up and away from the unit is obstructed, this will increase the temperature around the outdoor section which greatly reduces its cooling efficiency. Nearby bushes and shrubs also prevent the transfer of heat, so cut back or remove any growth that is closer than 18 inches to the unit
5) Check your indoor return grills for obstructions. Newer homes have return grills in the ceiling or high sidewalls but many homes still have lower sidewall return grills. Be sure the grills do not have any furniture or obstructions closer than 12 inches or so. The central air conditioner can only deliver as much air as it is supplied from the return air system, do don’t cut off its intake air.
6) Check the filter(s) in the indoor section. You may have more than one filter and sometimes not even know it. Check the indoor unit for a filtration system but check all of your return grills as well. Many return air systems have one or more hinged “filter-back” grills that, when opened, allow access to that may be housed within the grill itself.
Bay Area Air Conditioning provides the most thorough AC tune-ups in New Port Richey this time of year. Our Precision Tune-up and Professional Cleaning will restore your A/C system to factory operational standards, reducing your energy costs and helping to prevent unneeded A/C repair service.