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How Would I Know If My Air Conditioner Coil is Clogged?

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In a properly functioning air conditioning system, the evaporator coil is cold but not freezing. It’s cold enough to take heat out of the air passing through it, but it shouldn’t produce ice. If ice starts to form or worse, if it encases the entire coil, it’s likely to damage the system and prevent it from functioning adequately. At this time of year, you’ll be relying on your AC more, so you need to ensure it’s in proper working order. In this article, we’ll look at why air conditioning coils freeze up, how you’ll know when it happens, and what you can do to fix the problem. Our Anderson HVAC experts have remedied this issue many times.

Why Air Conditioning Coils Freeze

There are several reasons why you may find yourself dealing with a frozen coil. These include:

  • Blocked condensate lines. The condensate lines take away excess moisture that’s caused by humidity. If they are clogged, water can get stuck and it can freeze. This is especially likely if the blockage occurs near the coil since this is the coldest part of the system.
  • Dirty air filters. If it seems like we’re always stressing the need for clean filters, it’s because they really are important. When your filters are dirty, air may not be able to properly flow in and out of your AC system. When air isn’t circulating, the coil can get too cold and it will freeze up.
  • Broken fans. Having clean filters isn’t enough. The fan also needs to be able to send air through the system. If the fan’s blades are dirty or the motor is broken, there is likely to be a reduction in airflow.
  • Refrigerant leaks. Refrigerant is a chemical that runs through the coils and absorbs heat by changing temperature and pressure. If it’s leaking, the lack of pressure will cause it to absorb more heat than it should. The refrigerant lines will freeze over followed by the coils. Refrigerant leaks are serious so you should get an HVAC professional to fix the leak or replace the coil.
  • A malfunctioning thermostat. Your thermostat checks the temperature outside regularly and controls how hard the AC has to work to keep your home at a comfortable temperature. If the thermostat is broken and it measures the temperature incorrectly, it won’t properly control the AC. This means the unit may run more than it has to and over time, this can lead to frozen coils.

Troubleshooting A Frozen AC Coil

If your air conditioning coils are iced over, you may notice that the AC is running but no cool air is coming out. You may also spot ice on the coils indoors or outdoors. Since frozen coils create a build-up of moisture, you may notice more condensation around your cooling unit or in your home.

If you notice any of these signs, there are some things you can do before you call an HVAC contractor. If you’re not comfortable with handling your unit, you should, of course, contact a professional from the start. It is after all, better to be safe than sorry. You can try:

  • Changing your air filters. This will allow air to flow freely through the system and get rid of contaminants.
  • Turn off your thermostat’s settings but turn on the fan for a few hours. This will send air over the indoor coil and melt the ice.
  • Thaw out the air conditioner naturally for a day or so. You’ll need to turn off all the power to the system before you attempt to thaw it out.

 Fixing the Problem

If the steps above don’t solve the issues you’re experiencing or you didn’t want to risk messing with your AC, an HVAC contractor can get your coils working again. They can help with:

  • Repairing refrigerant leaks. The technician will inspect your system and find the source of the leak.
  • Cleaning the coils. Since dirty coils can affect the exchange of heat, the HVAC professional will remove the dirt and grime.
  • Fixing damaged ducts. Faulty ducts can restrict airflow and lead to coil freezing.
  • Unclogging condensate lines and drain pans. When these are blocked, extra moisture will be in the system and that can lead to freezing.

Contact C&L Services for Help with Your Air Conditioning Problems

We know how important it is to be cool and comfortable during the summer. If your coils are frozen or there’s some other problem with your air conditioning, we can help. Our team of South Carolina HVAC professionals will quickly get your AC back in perfect working order. All you need to do is contact us so we can visit your home, inspect your system, and diagnose and fix the problem.
 

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