Several times per day, our AC dispatchers receive distressed calls from home owners and commercial businesses which goes something like this: HELP! My Central Air Conditioning Unit is severely frozen and not operating efficiently. Should I be concerned?
The answer is YES, and you should immediately shut down your unit to prevent further damage and allow one of our NATE certified service technicians to come inspect the AC unit and determine both the cause and the resolution.
In most cases, the artic gremlins arise from either poor air flow or faulty refrigerant pressure, although several other factors may influence its frozen state.
When your unit freezes over like this, there is a hidden thermodynamic process at work called the Joule-Thomson effect which involves moving warm air from inside the home (using refrigerant, evaporator coils and moving air) to the outside compressor which expels the warm air into the atmosphere.
The advanced cooling state may be caused by uneven air flows or issues with the refrigerant.
Before our service techs visit your home or business we will tell you to turn the unit completely off. Allow it to thaw and return to room temperature which allow us to run diagnostic tests.
Some of the tests we run include:
- Inspecting and replacing the air filter, which includes looking for clogging, dust or residue build up or anything else which may be blocking the movement of air.
- We may also clean the evaporator coil, removing dust, dirt and debris that is restricting the Joule-Thomson effect mentioned further above.
- Our service tech will also scan and inspect your vents and ducts looking for further blockages or debris build up which could be impacting air flow.
Our diagnostics do no end there, we may end up having to consider several additional factors in the array of AC components that work together to keep your home or business cool including AC fans, blowers and condensers that may be degrading in relation to the age of your unit.
By the way, if your unit is around 10 years old (or older) this usually marks a point in time when they begin to exhibit warning signs including faulty air flow which may lead to frozen units.
One of the ways to PREVENT a frozen unit is to consider an AC Tune Up from an accredited HVAC contractor. For instance, Air Pros will check your Freon, amperages on compressors and fan motors, and look for any other signs your unit be on the verge of failing health.
Finally, if you wish to educate yourself regarding the various components of your AC unit consider reading our starter article on the subject entitled “How Modern Air Conditioning Units Work For The Everyman,” – it will give you a good basis upon which to understand why preventive AC maintenance is the smart way to go to keep your AC unit running smoothly.