Avoid Air Conditioner Meltdown
There is nothing better than entering a nice cool house on a hot summer day. And few things are worse than sweltering in the heat as you wait for the HVAC technician to come fix your broken air conditioner, knowing it is going to cost hundreds of dollars to repair.
The most common reason for a sudden air conditioner meltdown is frozen pipes and tubes.
Why do Air Conditioners Freeze
There are lots of things that can cause your AC unit to freeze. A qualified AC professional can help you find the source of the problem, but it does not hurt to understand how freezing occurs so you can take steps to prevent it.
- Refrigerant Charge: If your AC is running low on refrigerant or the fluid is improperly charged, the system can freeze. Leaks are a common cause of refrigerant problems; these can occur when moving parts rub together or vibrate over time. Leaks are also likely to be found where fittings and shoulder joints are loose. Only a certified HVAC technician should check refrigerant levels and recharge the system if necessary.
- Airflow: Restricted airflow can cause the evaporative coils to get so dirty that they drop to a temperature below freezing. Humidity in the surrounding air then collects and freezes around the coils. If your air filters have not been changed in more than three months, airflow can be significantly reduced; undersized ducts are another common cause of poor airflow.
- Outdoor Temperature: Running your air conditioner on cool days can cause the unit to freeze up. Most central AC systems are not designed to work properly when outside temperatures dip below 60ºF.
How to Prevent Freezing
Now that you understand the most common causes of air conditioner freezing, you can take positive steps to prevent problems in the future.
- Refrigerant Charge: To keep fluid levels functional, contact a qualified professional to perform a thorough test on your system. A technician will be able to look for leaks, repair damaged or weakened parts, refill coolant and make sure you AC is in good working condition. It is always a good idea to schedule maintenance before peak season to avoid high prices or emergency service charges.
- Airflow: Change the air filters regularly, usually about every three months or so. This is the simplest, most cost-effective way to ensure your air conditioner does not freeze. If you notice that the AC’s evaporative coils are already dirty, you will need to have them cleaned by a professional. You may be able to vacuum out some of the debris yourself, but some have coils that need to be removed for proper cleaning.
- Outdoor Temperature: This one is pretty simple; just do not use your air conditioner when the outside temperature is below 60º. Not only will you prevent your system from freezing, but you will also save energy and money on utility costs by just opening the windows on cool days.
Contact Horizon Services
So, when you are ready to install or replace your home’s air conditioner or heater system, please contact Horizon Services. Our friendly and experienced team of Home Comfort Consultants knows air conditioning and heating systems inside and out. They’ll take the time to study your home, understand your cooling and heating requirements, show you all of your options and assist you with finding the quality home comfort system that best meets your family’s needs and budget.