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Home Care Library

Central Air Conditioning

The Home Wizard app calculates your ideal home care program to avoid problems with your Central Air Conditioning, but sometimes trouble can still occur. Here are answers to questions about central air conditioning ice buildup on central ac.

QUESTION FROM TILLMAN122

WHY IS MY CENTRAL AIR CONDITIONING FREEZING UP

ANSWER FROM HOME-WIZARD

Dear Tillman122:

There are a number of possible reasons why your air conditioner is freezing up:

1. Your air conditioner may be running low on refrigerant. Low refrigerant levels can cause the coil to become too cold. You will need to contact a professional to find and fix your refrigerant leak, and to re-charge your unit with refrigerant.

2. You may not have enough airflow to keep the coil from freezing. Air from your house passing past your coil keeps it above freezing because this air is above 32 degrees fahrenheit. If there is not enough airflow, the coil gets too cold and starts to freeze the condensed water before it can drain away. To prevent this, check for a dirty air filter. Depending on your system, you should be changing your air filters once a month during the cooling season. And also, make sure that your registers are all open and clear, so that air can flow freely.

3. Make sure your fan is actually moving air when your air conditioner is running. If your air conditioner is running and the fan is not always running (or not running fast enough), then this could be the cause of your freezing.

4. If you have a bad thermostat and it allows your air conditioner to run all night during a cool night, then this could cause your air conditioner to freeze up (although in your particular case, it sounds like your problem is occurring during the day).

Remember, if you let your air conditioner continue to run after the coil has frozen up, then you are not only wasting money, but you are also risking damage to the compressor, which is very expensive to replace.

Hope this is helpful.
Home-Wizard.com

QUESTION FROM ofl

tubing that connects to outside of condenser has ice. house is hot and there seems to be little air flow coming out from vents. What can be the poblem.

ANSWER FROM HOME-WIZARD

Dear ofl:

There are a number of possible reasons why your air conditioner is freezing up:

1. Your air conditioner may be running low on refrigerant. Low refrigerant levels can cause the coil to become too cold. You will need to contact a professional to find and fix your refrigerant leak, and to re-charge your unit with refrigerant.

2. You may not have enough airflow to keep the coil from freezing. Air from your house passing past your coil keeps it above freezing because this air is above 32 degrees fahrenheit. If there is not enough airflow, the coil gets too cold and starts to freeze the condensed water before it can drain away. To prevent this, check for a dirty air filter. Depending on your system, you should be changing your air filters once a month during the cooling season. And also, make sure that your registers are all open and clear, so that air can flow freely.

3. Make sure your fan is actually moving air when your air conditioner is running. If your air conditioner is running and the fan is not always running (or not running fast enough), then this could be the cause of your freezing.

4. If you have a bad thermostat and it allows your air conditioner to run all night during a cool night, then this could cause your air conditioner to freeze up (although in your particular case, it sounds like your problem is occurring during the day).

Remember, if you let your air conditioner continue to run after the coil has frozen up, then you are not only wasting money, but you are also risking damage to the compressor, which is very expensive to replace.

Hope this is helpful.
Home-Wizard.com

QUESTION FROM chicky

How can you remove the ice accumulated inside the air conditioning unit? And how can we prevent it?

ANSWER FROM HOME-WIZARD

Dear "chicky":

There are a number of possible reasons why your air conditioner is freezing up:

1. Your air conditioner may be running low on refrigerant. Low refrigerant levels can cause the coil to become too cold. You will need to contact a professional to find and fix your refrigerant leak, and to re-charge your unit with refrigerant.

2. You may not have enough airflow to keep the coil from freezing. Air from your house passing past your coil keeps it above freezing because this air is above 32 degrees fahrenheit. If there is not enough airflow, the coil gets too cold and starts to freeze the condensed water before it can drain away. To prevent this, check for a dirty air filter. Depending on your system, you should be changing your air filters once a month during the cooling season. And also, make sure that your registers are all open and clear, so that air can flow freely.

3. Make sure your fan is actually moving air when your air conditioner is running. If your air conditioner is running and the fan is not always running (or not running fast enough), then this could be the cause of your freezing.

4. If you have a bad thermostat and it allows your air conditioner to run all night during a cool night, then this could cause your air conditioner to freeze up (although in your particular case, it sounds like your problem is occurring during the day).

Remember, if you let your air conditioner continue to run after the coil has frozen up, then you are not only wasting money, but you are also risking damage to the compressor, which is very expensive to replace.

Hope this is helpful.
Home-Wizard.com

QUESTION FROM Mike

Central AC unit had lot of ice on it. Turned AC unit off inside house at thermostat but absent mindedly FORGOT (AGH!!) to turn outside power off at breaker box to AC unit. Used water hose to spray off ice and clean dirt from fins. Some water accumulated in bottom of unit maybe an inch deep before it drained away. Upon attempting to turn AC back on inside house at thermostat, there is now seemingly no power to AC unit. Checked AC fuses inside house they are OK. Turned breakers on and off, they seem strong but still no power to unit. How, please, do I determine where I may have caused an electrical short(?) or other problem in unit by hosing off the ice and dirt without shutting outside power to unit off first? Thanks so much. Absent Minded de-Icer in Florida

ANSWER FROM HOME-WIZARD

Dear Mike:

From what you've described, here are some thoughts. First we need to address why you were getting ice building up on your air conditioner outside condenser. There are two reasons why ice can build up: 1) if air flow is restricted from flowing around the unit; and 2) too little refrigerant in the system. Either of these can lead to conditions which cause the surface of the cooling coil to drop below the freezing temperature, where condensation and moisture will turn to ice. In addition, a dirty / blocked air filter reducing air flow through the air handler can contribute to the problem as well. So regardless of the electrical issues, you will need to determine which of these (or both) need to be corrected. Next, if you have determined that your thermostat is working properly, and your system is turned on and the fuses/circuit breakers are alright, then the next thing that needs to be check is whether the condenser motor has burned out. Here is a link to a webpage which describes how to diagnose a burned out air conditioning compressor: http://www.inspectapedia.com/aircond/aircond15f.htm As you will read, this requires a good degree of technical capability, and is something that might be best left to a trained service professional. One last thought is that typically an air conditioning condenser unit will operate on a delay timer when it turns on, so if you haven't already waited 10-15 minutes after you have turned the unit on (to allow the timer to allow power to the unit) before you turned it back off, then you might want to try this.

Hope this is helpful.
Home-Wizard

QUESTION FROM Tangelia Echols

my outside unit is running and it had frozen up; however the unit in the attic does not come on to produce cold air inside. Please advise

ANSWER FROM HOME-WIZARD

Dear Tangelia:

It you are getting ice forming on your outside condenser unit of your central air conditioning system, this is typically the result of one (or more) of the following problems: 1) the refrigerant level is low in your system. 2) the air flow around your condenser unit is being restricted (for example, being blocked so that it can't easily flow through the fins). 3) your air filters are very dirty and are blocking air flow through your system. You will want to correct these problems before you do any damage to your condenser motor.

Hope this is helpful.
Home-Wizard.com

Central Air Conditioning