Has your James Island AC decided to become a block of ice? It’s surprising to know that your air conditioner can build up frost when it’s out in the scorching South Carolina heat, but it happens, and it can prevent the unit from cooling your home’s interior.

Ever wonder, “Why is my AC unit freezing?” Well, you’re in luck! Keep reading to learn 8 reasons why your air conditioning freezes up. You don’t want to be without your air conditioner in the summer heat, so these warning signs can keep you cool and prevent your AC from freezing.

Low Refrigerant Levels

Low refrigerant levels can be the culprit behind your James Island HVAC issues. When your first cold refrigerant dips below its required level, the pressure within the system drops, causing the evaporator coil to cool. If the evaporator coil gets too cold, moisture in the air can freeze onto it, resulting in your air conditioner freezing up.

Refrigerant Leaks

You can have refrigerant leaks in your air conditioning unit without knowing. However. You can check your cooling system’s extremely cold refrigerant, compressor, and frozen evaporator coils for a possible refrigerant leak. If you spot leaking refrigerant, turn the unit off immediately and call an experienced HVAC technician to repair or replace the damaged part.

Insufficient Air Flow

If your air conditioner is gasping for breath due to clogged air filters, dirty evaporator coils, or blocked vents, the balance of your system can be thrown off. Make sure you don’t have furniture too close to your air conditioner vents and registers to prevent this problem.

In addition to producing warm air, your evaporator coil can end up getting too cold, and before you know it, you’re dealing with a frozen AC unit. This type of blockage causes an air conditioner to blow what feels like outdoor air, keeping your home’s interior warmer than you want.

Broken Thermostat

Sometimes, your thermostat might be the bad guy. If it malfunctions and keeps your air conditioner running constantly, your AC unit could start freezing up. It might tell your air conditioner to run below freezing to produce cooled air when anything lower than 60 degrees can damage air conditioners.

Before the thermostat leads to your air conditioner freezing, you can call a James Island HVAC technician to replace the defective one with a new one. You can invest in a smart thermostat to keep the air moving and prevent this problem in the future.

Drainage Issues

Even in our beautiful James Island climate, an HVAC system can freeze up if there’s a blockage in the condensate drain. The evaporator coil absorbs moisture along with heat, relying on the drain line to pull the condensation away from the refrigerant.

If the drain line can’t do its job, the excess moisture gets trapped near the coil. Keeping this line clear on your air conditioner unit prevents water from freezing on the coil.

Faulty Blower Fan Motor

A blower fan pulls warm air into the ductwork and sends cool air through the house in a closed loop system, but a damaged blower fan leads to insufficient air flow. You may notice this issue if the blower motor hums constantly, blows slowly, or has trouble starting. Your air conditioner may blow warm air in the house.

If your blower fan motor isn’t doing its job or the fan’s rotation speed is slow, your indoor air might not be circulating properly. This can lead to the evaporator coil becoming too cold and – you guessed it – you have an AC system frozen.

Mechanical Failures

Just like any other machine, wear and tear can lead to air conditioner malfunctions. Something as minor as a kink in the refrigerant lines could be causing your AC unit to freeze up due to its power output. If one thing goes wrong, it can impact the interior pressure in the unit and lead to the unit freezing, and you’ll feel like you can’t get enough air.

Routine preventative maintenance from a HVAC James Island professional is best for preventing mechanical failures and avoiding these costly repairs and replacements. It’s better to pay for checkups to prevent your AC freezing than to have to replace an entire AC unit.

Dirty Coils

Don’t underestimate the power of dust and grime on an outdoor unit. A dirty coil can’t absorb heat effectively and may end up freezing. The evaporator coils stay damp, making them a magnet for debris. Dust catches on the moisture and won’t let go, causing insufficient airflow. Since these coils are fragile, contact a James Island HVAC professional for preventative maintenance help.

Outdoor Temperature

It might seem odd, but a sudden chill on James Island can cause your outdoor AC unit to freeze. Most air conditioners aren’t built to operate in temperatures below 60 degrees, so don’t run it overnight when the temps drop.

Before trying to bring air inside your house after cooler nights, let the frozen air conditioner thaw. Otherwise, it won’t work correctly, and the low pressure can cause ice buildup.

Dirty Air Filter

The AC’s air filters capture mold and dust as the indoor air cycles through your system. It keeps the debris from entering the ducts and impacting the quality of the cold air your family breathes.

Over time, this debris builds up in the dirty air filter and can block proper airflow. Your AC system will struggle to send any air into your home, and what you get won’t seem fresh. Replacing the air filter is a DIY maintenance task you can do on your own.

Air Duct Issues

Your ductwork sends warm air to the HVAC unit and push fresh, cool air into the home. If there are leaks or blockages in the ducts, the air can’t properly flow. The warm air will never reach the evaporator coil, so the frozen coils won’t cool the air.

Closed Vents

You may think you have too many vents in your home, so you closed some off. This can lead to frozen air conditioners because the air can’t flow through the entire house. Some air gets rerouted and won’t filter through the entire system.

Check for dust and blockages near all of your interior air vents, but otherwise routine AC maintenance is the best way to spot these issues before they cause a freeze.

How to Fix Your Frozen Air Conditioner

There are plenty of reasons air conditioners freeze. If you have a frozen AC that isn’t blowing cooler air, or feels like warm indoor air, chances are there’s an ice buildup on the AC coils.

Since you know what causes an AC to freeze up, let’s look at the quick fix for what caused your air conditioner to freeze.

Your AC freezing is the first sign that something’s wrong with the machine, but don’t hit the panic button. Shut off your air conditioning to allow the unit to defrost. You can also try pouring hot water to eliminate the ice formation.

Changing the AC filters and cleaning the evaporator coil can work wonders. You should also open all registers in your house and move furniture, curtains, or other objects that might be restricting the airflow or blocking the return vent.

How to Prevent a Frozen Air Conditioner

Routine maintenance is your best ally in preventing your HVAC system from freezing up. You’ll know your unit works properly without any leaks that could damage the appliance or prevent your home from staying cool during the summer heat.

Waiting until you have a problem can teach you a costly lesson when you need to wait for the right part during a heat wave, or worse—replace the entire frozen AC unit.

However, if you take steps to thaw your AC but it still seems more like an icebox than a cooling unit, it’s time to call in a professional. Particularly for issues like low refrigerant or mechanical failures, you’ll need the expert touch of a certified James Island HVAC technician.

Final Thoughts on a Frozen Air Conditioning System

There are plenty of reasons why your air conditioner freezes. Understanding these frozen AC issues is key to preventing them.

But when in doubt, don’t hesitate to call a professional to check out your air conditioning unit. We all want to stay cool and comfortable on James Island, SC and the surrounding areas, not suffering with a freezing AC unit!

Contact us today to schedule an appointment for air conditioner repair!