Why Do Air Conditioners Freeze Up?

Air conditioners are complex systems made up of parts that must work in balance with each other to produce the desired result. Any malfunctioning part within an air conditioner can affect the performance of the entire system. Although properly installed and well-maintained AC systems usually operate well for years without issues, there are multiple reasons why air conditioners freeze up on occasion. As your neighborhood AC provider, All Temp Air Conditioning and Heating is pleased to offer troubleshooting tips for problematic air conditioning systems.

The Role of Refrigerant

An examination of how AC systems work helps explain why air conditioners freeze up. Refrigerant is at the heart of air conditioning technology. Refrigerants are substances that can be easily converted from liquid to gas and back again. Compressing the gas forces its molecules closer together, transforming the substance into a heated liquid. The liquid is then cooled as it passes through coils in the unit’s condenser. As the liquid is squeezed into the evaporator and flows through the evaporator’s coils, it changes into a gas again, pulling heat from the surrounding air.

Improper Refrigerant Charge

A properly installed air conditioner has just the right amount of refrigerant to keep the unit operating well for many years to come. If a leak develops somewhere in the system or if improperly charged, however, the AC is forced to run at a lower pressure. When the pressure is too low, the refrigerant can’t extract enough heat from the surrounding air to keep the evaporator coils from freezing up. When addressing this problem, it’s critical to determine the cause of low refrigerant levels. Simply adding more refrigerant can lead to additional issues and costly repairs.

Air Flow Issues

Something as simple as a dirty air filter can restrict the AC system’s air flow, impacting the rate that the refrigerant can pull heat from the air as it passes over the evaporator’s coils. Whenever the refrigerant can’t extract enough heat, the coils can freeze up. Poor air flow also forces your air conditioner to run longer, exacerbating the problem. Air flow issues can occur in the system’s ductwork and blower as well. A too-small ductwork system or a blower operating on a too-low speed won’t provide adequate air circulation.

Outdoor Temperatures

Sometimes the reason why air conditioners freeze up has to do with the temperature of the air outside. Because air conditioning systems work by extracting heat from the air, outdoor temperatures below 60 degrees Fahrenheit can impact the AC’s indoor performance. If it’s necessary for you to run your air conditioning system when outdoor temperatures are low, the installation of an ambient temperature control can address this problem.

At All Temp Air Conditioning and Heating, we take the time to inspect all the components of your air conditioning system when troubleshooting AC freeze ups. We ensure that all parts are working in synchronization with each other to deliver optimal performance. Our primary goal is to ensure that the AC in your Matthews NC home or business always keeps your comfortably cool.

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