Will My AC Freeze If I Lower the Thermostat Too Far?
Few HVAC issues perplex homeowners more than the frozen air conditioner. After all, no one runs their AC when it’s cold outside (let alone during freezing temperatures), so how could it have frozen? As strange as it seems, an air conditioner can ice over on even the hottest summer day, because it’s not about the outdoor temperature — it’s about what’s happening inside the air conditioner. If you’ve ever come home to find ice on your air conditioner, you need to pay attention to what it’s telling you. A frozen AC is a sign that something is seriously wrong, and failing to address the issue could cost you a ton in repairs or require a full AC replacement. Keep reading to learn why your air conditioner keeps freezing and what you can do to stop it. If your air conditioner keeps freezing, you need help from the best in Desoto air: Dial One Johnson Plumbing, Cooling & Heating. Our experienced technicians are ready to provide fast, affordable service for all your HVAC needs. Call us today at (972) 291-0740.
Did I Set My Thermostat Too Low?You’ve probably heard stories about people whose air conditioners froze after they set the thermostat too low. This sounds unbelievable, but it does happen, especially in higher altitudes. This is why many HVAC experts say you shouldn’t lower your thermostat below 72 degrees during warm months or below 78 degrees in the hot months. If you’re used to cranking the AC when it’s hot outside, you may be thinking that 78 degrees sounds pretty uncomfortable. However, HVAC experts recommend this for a good reason, namely the fact that air conditioners can only effectively cool a space to 20 degrees lower than the outside temperature. After ACs reach that 20-degree mark, their ability to cool wanes considerably, and they have to work much harder. Setting your thermostat higher in the summer will prevent unnecessary wear and tear on your system, lower your utility bills and prevent your AC from freezing. However, a low thermostat setting is not the main reason that ACs freeze.
Why Does an AC Freeze?When we talk about air conditioners freezing, we’re really talking about the evaporator coil freezing. Although the freeze can spread to other air conditioner components and cover them in ice, it starts at the coil. Many issues can cause the evaporator coil to freeze, but they all boil down to insufficient air flow. The evaporator coil absorbs heat from the home’s indoor air and works with the condenser coil to exchange the warm air for cold air. The evaporator coil is essentially a cluster of refrigerant coils that contain refrigerant, a chemical that can get as cold as 10-20 degrees Fahrenheit. When everything is functioning normally, warm, unconditioned air passes over the evaporator coils, and the heat prevents ice or frost formation. However, when there’s a lack of warm airflow, the evaporator coil gets too cold and eventually ices over. The ice then spreads to the refrigerant lines. When you need fast AC repair, Desoto, TX, experts at Dial One Johnson are ready to make it happen. Whether your AC keeps freezing, doesn’t blow cool air or shuts off frequently, our experienced technicians can fix the issue or offer appropriate AC replacements.
Warning Signs of Frozen AC CoilsIf your air conditioner is at risk for freezing, you may be lucky enough to spot some warning signs before major damage is done. If you notice any of the following symptoms, your evaporator coils could be vulnerable to freezing:
- Heat. The first thing you’re going to notice with most AC issues is that it’s hot in your house. If you can get to your AC unit to inspect it for ice, you should.
- Weak airflow. Weak airflow can be both a warning sign and a cause of frozen coils.
- Moisture. Does your home feel muggy? Frozen AC coils could lead to a buildup of moisture and raise your indoor humidity levels.
Top Causes of Frozen AC CoilsBarring a refrigerant leak (which can quickly cause any air conditioner to freeze over), almost every other reason for frozen AC coils has to do with insufficient air flow. Here are some of the top reasons your air conditioner freezes:
- Dirty air filter. A dirty or clogged air filter makes it difficult for air to flow through the AC. This not only puts strain on the entire air conditioner, but it also means that the evaporator coil isn’t being sufficiently warmed by any incoming air.
- Obstructed condenser unit. Outdoor condenser units can get obstructed by leaves and debris, effectively halting air flow. Even systems in mechanical rooms can get obstructed when equipment or other storage items are placed too close to them.
- Dirty evaporator coil. Even if airflow over the evaporator coils is good, they can still freeze if they’re too dirty to absorb the warm air.