When ice begins to form on your AC unit, the ability for it to be able to provide sufficient cooling will be significantly impaired. Additionally, when it freezes up, it can put the compressor under a great deal of stress. If you continue to run your air conditioner after ice forms on the coil, chances are you will soon be facing expensive repairs or even replacement of your AC’s compressor.
So, what causes an air conditioner to freeze? The answer is, a number of conditions can cause this type of problem.
An air filter that is dirty is often the reason why an air conditioner freezes up. An air conditioner requires adequate air flow in order to operate properly and a dirty air filter reduces air flow. If you notice ice on the outside unit or on the pipes leading from the compressor, immediately check the air filter.
If the filter is dirty, replace it with a clean filter. In fact, if you are running your AC unit on a continual basis, the filter should be replaced once every month. Additionally, check all of the air registers in your home. If you have vents that are closed or blocked the evaporator coil will not get sufficient airflow.
Evaporator coils should also be cleaned regularly in order to prevent them from freezing. This is something that should be done by a professional HVAC contractor. An air conditioning system can also freeze as the result of a faulty fan. When the fan isn’t operating properly, air will not circulate through the duct system the way it should.
Another big reason an air conditioning system might freeze is if it is low on refrigerant. This can be due to an AC system that has a leak somewhere. If this is the problem, a licensed contractor will need to run tests in order to determine where the leak is and make repairs and refill refrigerant.