When the summer heat moves into the Randallstown, MD, area, homeowners lean heavily upon their home’s HVAC system to stay comfortable. However, there are times when your AC won’t deliver the cool air your home requires. One of those times is when your AC freezes up. A frozen air conditioner can’t extract heat from your home’s air and won’t function until you defrost it completely. It’s a process that can take hours and isn’t something you’d want to suffer through on a hot day. To avoid that, here are six ways that you can keep your home’s HVAC from freezing this summer.
1. Keep Your Air Filter Clean
Poor airflow through your HVAC system is the most common cause of ice buildup on your system’s evaporator coils. To work correctly, your AC needs a constant flow of warm air passing over those coils while your system runs. And whether you know it or not, dirty air filters are the number one cause of airflow problems in HVAC systems.
Most HVAC air filters have a lifespan of around 90 days, after which they need replacement. If you don’t replace them often enough, they’ll collect so much dust and dirt that they’ll begin restricting the airflow through your HVAC. Replacing your HVAC air filter as necessary is the first step in preventing your system from freezing.
2. Open Up Your Vents
Closed or obstructed vents can also restrict airflow through your HVAC, causing it to freeze up. It’s a good idea to keep all of the vents open to prevent your system from freezing. You should also try and make sure that you don’t have any furniture or other large objects blocking the vents in your home. This ensures that the cold air produced by your AC flows freely around your home and that your system won’t have to fight against excess static pressure in its ductwork.
3. Turn Up Your Thermostat
Another way to prevent your AC from freezing this summer is to reduce your demand for it. One of the reasons your AC might freeze is that it must constantly run to reach and maintain the temperature you’ve set on your thermostat. If you can comfortably raise the temperature by a degree or two, you’ll decrease the odds of your system’s evaporator coils freezing.
You should also be aware that most residential HVAC systems are only designed to produce around a 20-degree difference between indoor and outdoor temperatures. So, when the outside temperature is in the upper 90s, don’t expect your HVAC to deliver enough cooling to reach much beyond the low 70s inside. If you want a system capable of that, you’ll need to think about installing a newer, larger AC system to meet your needs.
4. Check Your AC Refrigerant Levels
Your AC depends on having a precise amount of refrigerant at all times to function. When your refrigerant levels drop below the proper level, it can cause your evaporator coils to freeze. Most of the time, your first indication that your system needs more refrigerant is that it won’t produce as much cold air as it once did. If you notice that happening, you should call in a qualified HVAC technician to check your system’s refrigerant levels.
If the technician finds that your system needs additional refrigerant, the first thing they’ll do is examine your system to make sure there aren’t any leaks. While it’s normal for AC systems to lose small amounts of refrigerant over time, it should take years before you need a system recharge. So, if your AC loses refrigerant faster than that, you may have a leak that needs repair first.
5. Ensure Proper Condensation Drainage
Another common reason for an AC to freeze is when it’s unable to drain condensation away from its evaporator coils. All central AC systems feature a condensate pan that sits beneath the evaporator coils to catch condensation that drips off of them. That condensation is a normal byproduct of the refrigeration cycle that produces cold air for your home. However, if the moisture stays near the cold coils, it will freeze.
Your system also has a condensate drain line that runs from the condensate pan to the outside of your home or a drain. When your system’s running, you should see a steady drip coming from the end of that line. If you don’t, it could mean that the condensate line has a clog, or that something’s wrong with your condensate drip pan. In either case, you’ll need to schedule a visit from an HVAC technician.
The technician will resolve the problem by cleaning out your condensate line. They’ll typically use a powerful vacuum and a cleaning solution to remove clogs in the line. They’ll also examine your condensate dip pan to make certain that there are no obstructions preventing water from reaching the drain. If your system has a condensate pump, they’ll also check that to ensure it operates as it should.
6. Increase Your HVAC Fan Speed
If your HVAC system freezes up often and none of the other tips have helped, it could be possible that your HVAC fan speed isn’t set properly. Many HVAC systems feature multi-speed fans that provide installation flexibility to suit your home’s unique airflow needs. On most systems, the installer sets the speed via a series of speed wires connected to the blower motor or via switches on the motor’s controller board. If the original installer set the speed wrong or something about the airflow in your home changed after the installation, you might need to have your blower speed changed.
Once again, this isn’t something you can do yourself. You’ll need an HVAC technician who is familiar with your particular HVAC system and who has the right training for the job. To determine if the fan speed is the culprit behind your freezing issues, the technician will measure the static pressure generated by your system. If it’s below the level required by your HVAC model, the technician will make the necessary changes to increase your system’s fan speed. That should stop your freezing issues and improve airflow throughout your home, too.
Consult Your Trusted HVAC Service Provider
If you’ve tried everything you can think of to keep your HVAC from freezing up and nothing has helped, don’t despair. HB Home Service Team can help you get to the bottom of the problem and recommend the right solution. We’re an employee-owned HVAC company with roots dating back to 1914 — there’s no HVAC problem we haven’t seen and solved. Our highly trained team of HVAC technicians can handle all kinds of HVAC repairs and maintenance tasks and can execute flawless HVAC system installations, too. We also offer comprehensive plumbing services, carbon monoxide and smoke detector installation, and surge protection systems for your home. We can even service your home’s well pump if you need it!
So, for solutions to your HVAC freezing issues and a whole lot more, call the team at HB Home Service Team today!