- Ice on a refrigerant line outside in the Phoenix heat is really possible.
- It isn’t a good sign.
- There are some steps you can take to prevent damage to your system if you act fast.
Frozen AC Coils in Phoenix, AZ
Though you may be questioning your sight, it is possible. Even in the heat of Phoenix, AZ, and surrounding areas, your air conditioner’s refrigerant line can freeze over. What has happened is that your coil has frozen solid, so there is nowhere for it to go but through the refrigerant line where you see it in the form of ice. There could be several reasons for this phenomenon, but the first thing you need to know is:
- Turn your AC “off,” but set the fan to “on.”
Will this fix your problem? Unfortunately, no, but it will help your evaporator coil to thaw, hopefully in time to prevent damage to your very expensive-to-replace compressor. There are still troubleshooting steps you can take for fixing ac coil if you are the DIY type. If you aren’t mechanically inclined, give Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing a call at 602-900-9415.
If you are experiencing problems with your AC, you may have a frozen AC coil. Your AC coil is located in your indoor air handler system where the blower, or fan, pushes air across it. The coil absorbs heat and humidity from the air. The following symptoms can identify a frozen AC coil:
- The ice around the outdoor refrigerant line.
- Condensation and moisture around your air handler.
- Overflowing condensate drain pan.
- Ice or condensation around the evaporator coil.
Why Does a Frozen AC Coil Happen?
Your air conditioners’ evaporator coil is composed of a group of copper tubes. When the refrigerant inside the coils gets too cold, it can cause any moisture present in the air to freeze. So, isn’t getting cold exactly what refrigerant is supposed to do? Yes, but if the airflow over the coil is too low or the refrigerant level gets too low, it can get too cold, causing the coils to freeze.
There could be a few easily remedied problems that cause reduced airflow to your evaporator coil that you can check before fixing the AC coil. Look for these potential causes:
- A dirty or clogged air filter - Your air filter is designed to catch dirt and debris before it gets to your HVAC unit. However, if you don’t change your filter at least monthly, that dirt becomes a barrier that prevents air from flowing through.
- Blocked return vents - It is very easy for draperies, furniture, and other objects to get pushed in front of the air return vents, inadvertently blocking the airflow. In case you aren’t sure what air return vents are, they are the wall grids where your air filters go that draw air from the room into the system.
- Closed supply vents - Your supply vents are what sends the cooled air into the room. Make sure ALL supply vents are open in each room to improve constricted airflow. Contrary to popular belief, closing supply vents in unused rooms does not save money but makes your system work harder and less efficiently.
Suppose you’ve eliminated all the obvious causes of a frozen AC coil. In that case, you may have a problem that isn’t as easy to fix on your own, such as a refrigerant leak, malfunctioning blower, or dirty evaporator coil. Call our office for service immediately. Day & Night’s experienced and certified technicians can help you identify the problem. The faster we identify the problem, the quicker your home gets back to a comfortable temperature.
Top Causes of a Frozen AC Coil and How To Fix Them
When your Phoenix, AZ, home is getting hotter even though your air conditioner is running, there is obviously something wrong. Problems with an HVAC system are enough to strike fear into the heart of most homeowners. However, there is no need to panic. Understanding some of the causes of the problems and what to do about them can empower you and give you steps to take to resolve them.
The Problem: Dirty Evaporator Coils
Evaporator coils can accumulate a buildup of dirt and dust over time. If that happens, it can prevent the system from cooling adequately. It’s important to clean the AC evaporator coils inside your house regularly to make sure this doesn’t happen.
The Solution: Regular Maintenance
While you can clean your evaporator coils yourself, it doesn’t mean you’ll be able to recognize other issues. However, unless you are an experienced HVAC technician, you should choose a periodic maintenance program so that you can identify emerging issues before they become bigger and more expensive problems.
The Problem: Refrigerant Issues
Low refrigerant typically means you have a leak, as the system that contains it is closed. If your refrigerant levels are low, you can end up with icy evaporator coils.
The Solution: Call a Professional
There is no DIY method of resolving this issue. The good news is that fixing ac coil problems is as simple as calling Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating, & Plumbing.
The Problem: Airflow Problems
Your evaporator coils help to cool your home by treating the air that blows over them. When the air is blocked, your system can’t work as designed.
The Solution: Check Filters and Vents
Check that you have the right sized filter, that it is not blocked, and prevent future problems by replacing it every 30 days. Not sure if it needs replacing? If you can’t see the light through it, you need to change it. Make sure all your vents are unblocked and open.
The Problem: Cooler Outside Temperatures
Your air conditioner is designed to cool warm air. If the external temperatures are cooler than 60° F, your HVAC will not work well, and your evaporator coils can freeze.
The Solution: Check the Thermostat
Avoid setting your thermostat too low when temperatures are cool outside. A good guide is to set your thermostat for 78° F or higher when you are home and 84° F or higher when you are away.
The Problem: Drainage Problems
Though it doesn’t often happen in Phoenix, AZ, and surrounding areas, times of heavy rain or humidity can make your evaporator coils work even harder to dry the air. All the accumulated humidity becomes condensation that should be eliminated through the drainpipe. However, if the pipe is clogged, the condensation can back up and freeze on the coils.
The Solution: Clear the Drainpipe
Once you’ve turned off the system and left the fan running, you can try clearing the clog yourself. However, you won’t be able to inspect the system for problems that may have developed from the frozen ac coil. Fixing AC coil problems should really be done by a certified technician to make certain there are no other contributing issues or damage from the frozen ac coils.
Count on Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating, & Plumbing
When you have any issues with your Phoenix, AZ, AC, you can rely on the team at Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing. If you’ve tried some of our DIY recommendations for fixing AC coil issues, but the problem reoccurs, or if you aren’t the handy type, contact us today to check your system quickly and thoroughly.
Featured Image: Mike Fig Photo/Shutterstock