Frozen Evaporator Coils: Why It Happens and How to Fix It

Frozen Evaporator Coils

If you’ve noticed your air conditioner is blowing warm air, making strange noises, or has ice buildup on the outdoor unit, you may be dealing with a frozen evaporator coil. This common AC problem can leave you hot and uncomfortable if not addressed promptly. Let’s take a look at what causes evaporator coils to freeze up and how you can fix the issue.

Causes of Frozen Evaporator Coils

Several factors can lead to a frozen evaporator coil, including:

  1. Dirty air filter: A clogged filter restricts airflow over the coils, causing them to become too cold and freeze..
  2. Low refrigerant: If your AC is low on refrigerant due to a leak, it can cause the coils to freeze as the system works harder to cool your home.
  3. Dirty evaporator coils: A buildup of dirt and debris on the coils themselves can impede heat transfer, leading to freezing.
  4. Blocked vents or registers: Closing too many vents in your home reduces airflow and can result in frozen coils.
  5. Malfunctioning blower fan: If the fan that blows air over the coils is not working properly, the lack of airflow can cause freezing.

What happens when the evaporator coil in an AC system freezes up?

Several bad things can occur:

  1. Little or no cooling: The frozen coil stops the AC from removing heat properly, so warm air comes out instead of cold air. The AC might run all the time without cooling your home well.
  2. Blocked airflow: Ice on the coils gets in the way of air moving through the system. The blower fan has to work extra hard, which can make it overheat and break.
  3. Stress on the compressor: When the AC keeps running to try to make up for the frozen coil, it really strains the compressor. This can cause the compressor to overheat and fail early.
  4. Water leaks: As the ice melts, lots of water can leak around the indoor AC unit.
  5. Higher energy costs: The AC uses more power when it has to work harder due to the frozen coil.
  6. AC damage: If you don’t fix a frozen coil quickly, it can cause lasting harm to AC parts like the compressor, blower motor, and coils.

A frozen evaporator coil can really hurt how well your AC works and how long it lasts if you don’t take care of it fast. It’s crucial to find and solve the root problem, like poor airflow or a refrigerant leak, to stop more damage and get your AC cooling properly again.

How to Fix a Frozen Evaporator Coil

If you suspect a frozen coil, follow these steps:

  1. Turn off your AC system completely to prevent further damage.
  2. Allow the ice to thaw naturally for up to 24 hours. You can speed up the process by running the system’s fan only.
  3. Check and replace your air filter if it’s dirty.
  4. Inspect the evaporator coils and clean them if needed once thawed.
  5. Have a professional HVAC technician diagnose and repair any refrigerant leaks, fan issues, or other mechanical problems.

Preventing Future Freezing

To avoid dealing with a frozen evaporator coil again, take these preventive measures:

  • Schedule annual professional maintenance to keep your system clean and catch potential issues early.
  • Check and change your air filter regularly.
  • Keep all vents and registers open to maintain proper airflow.
  • Avoid setting your thermostat too low to prevent overworking your AC.

If your evaporator coil keeps freezing up despite your best efforts, contact a trusted HVAC professional to thoroughly inspect your system and make any necessary repairs. With proper maintenance and prompt attention to warning signs, you can keep your AC running smoothly and your home comfortably cool.

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