Preventing a Frozen Window Unit Air Conditioner

Very Small Portable Air Conditioner
Most people would agree that trying to troubleshoot air conditioner problems during a heat wave is a frustrating endeavor.

If a window unit air conditioner is frozen, most individuals jump to the conclusion that the level of refrigerant gas is at the heart of the problem. In most cases, however, other issues have caused the unit to malfunction.

In numerous instances, poor airflow is to blame.

Frozen Window Unit Air ConditionerIf airflow through such a unit is restricted, it affects the cooling system. If the problem is severe, it can have a negative impact on the cooling coil due to critical temperature changes.

If the cooling coil surface drops below room temperature, the coil begins to act more like a refrigerator than an air conditioning unit. It collects and holds moisture instead of simply cooling the air. This moisture then freezes on the coil.

The main function of an air conditioning unit is to dehumidify rooms, not refrigerate air. By removing the room’s moisture, a comfortable temperature is acquired. However, for this to be accomplished, the cooling coil’s temperature must remain higher than the room’s dew point temperature.

Below are some other issues that can cause an air conditioner to freeze up:

1. Dirty Filters

During warm seasons, filters should be cleaned or replaced every few weeks. In homes where smokers reside, this task should be done even more frequently. The filter should be removed and thoroughly washed with water and laundry detergent. After this, the filter should be allowed to soak in warm water for approximately 15 minutes and allowed to air dry.

2. Blocked or Dirty Cooling Coil

Regular maintenance is important for any air conditioning unit, and this should be done annually. The cooling coil should be degreased in order to remove any coatings of dirt or debris. If not, airborne particles may be caught and trapped in the greasy residue. This eventually builds up and affects the way the unit functions. A blocked cooling coil will produce less efficient airflow in the home.

3. Blocked or Dirty Condenser Coil

The condenser coil is located at the rear of the unit and its function is to dissipate the hot air that is being removed from the home. Similar to the other components of the system, it should be cleaned annually.

Because this part is located outside the home, it is exposed to smog, pollen, and dirt. Because the air flows from inside the home to its exterior, dirt typically coagulates within the condenser, rather than on its surface.

Therefore, it is necessary to disassemble the unit to clean this particular component. The compressor can eventually burn out if such parts are not cleaned regularly. However, before this takes place, the homeowner usually notices a reduction in airflow and pressure. This in turn will cause ice buildup on the cooling coil.

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