What causes an air conditioner to freeze up?

What happens in the event that your air conditioning unit freezes, and what are the reasons for the AC system’s failure, leading your air conditioner to eventually freeze.

It may seem very unusual for a cooling device such as an air conditioner to freeze up, but this is an unfortunate occurrence that does happen, especially in the summer.

There are many different causes for this, some obvious and some that are not so obvious, which makes it difficult to pick up on the likelihood that your air conditioner is headed towards freezing up and you may not even know it.

Understanding how the central air conditioning system works in order to determine what causes an AC unit to eventually freeze up

As previously mentioned, the reasons for this will vary. It could be a dirty air filter, a refrigerant leak, a possible airflow obstruction or a dirty evaporator coil. Whatever the reason, it is important to firstly understand how an air conditioner unit can begin to freeze up by understanding the basics of how a central air conditioning system works. It all actually starts from the evaporator coils of the unit.

It is crucial to note that the key air conditioning component is filled with an extremely cold refrigerant. When the evaporator coils are activated, the refrigerant will need warm air in order to blow across the coils. This is what is known to cool your air and serve to keep the evaporator coils at a warm enough temperature so that they do not end up freezing. An air conditioning unit consists of both an indoor and outdoor coil.

An indoor coil is there to work to remove heat from the inside of the air conditioner unit, and then convey it via the refrigerant to the outdoor coil, which will then work to ensure the heat is pushed to the outside.

The system actually operates to pull heat from your indoor air in order to transfer it to the extra heat outside, which is why the outdoor unit of an air conditioner is almost always hot when you put your hand over the fan.

If something in the air conditioner seems to malfunction, the whole system will likely get disrupted. When this happens, and something prohibits warm air from blowing over the evaporator coils, this then leads to the evaporator coil allowing the refrigerant to cool too much, dropping to below freezing and, in turn, developing ice.

This could also happen if the pressure of the refrigerant is wrong inside the coils, which will then cause your air conditioner system’s coils to become too cold and freeze up, leaving you with a frozen air conditioner.

What are the causes of an air conditioner freezing?

One of the reasons as to why your air conditioner could freeze is a blocked air flow. Air conditioners are known to need to have a constant flow of air in order to avoid humidity settling on the coils and freezing.

To keep the air flow in your house moving enough to not interfere with your air conditioning unit’s functionality, it is critical to be sure that your air filters are not dirty and that they do not become clogged. Thus, it is important to keep your AC clean.

Mechanical problems or refrigerant leaks are also a common cause of your air conditioner freezing. AC units consist of moving parts that can get stuck, broken, or clogged. Refrigerant lines can end up kinking, fans can end up not moving, filters can become clogged and things can leak.

When any of these things occur, this can lead to a drop in pressure, allowing the refrigerant to become too cold. This is especially common since the refrigerant is an important part of ensuring a regulated temperature for your air conditioning unit. A drop in refrigerant level will cause your AC unit to freeze up.

Another factor to consider when it comes to how an air conditioner can end up freezing can be cold summer nights. Since AC units are arranged to operate within a certain set of optimum temperature thresholds, colder nights can certainly throw off an air conditioner’s functionality.

How common is it for an air conditioner to freeze?

A freezing air conditioner is a very common occurrence and a frustrating one to experience. Most homeowners are noted to go through the problem of a frozen air conditioner. A freezing air conditioner can be prevented through proper maintenance and tune ups of your AC unit every once in a while.

It is critical to ensure that your air conditioner is never neglected and that as the owner, you are always on the lookout for any signs of AC freezing.

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