In the midst of a boiling hot summer here in the Coachella Valley, a frozen evaporator coil might sound like a great way to cool down! Unfortunately, this is an air conditioner problem that will prevent your home from cooling properly and can lead to system breakdowns. Today we’re going to talk about why evaporator coils can freeze over and what you should do if it happens to your A/C!

What are your air conditioner’s evaporator coils?

The evaporator coils are located in the indoor portion of your air conditioner. When your air handler blows return air over the coils, the refrigerant inside the coils absorbs the air’s heat. As a result, the temperature of the return air is lowered and the cool air (now the supply air) is sent back to your home’s living spaces.

Why can evaporator coils freeze over?

In addition to cooling your home’s air, your air conditioner also dehumidifies it. When air is dehumidified, moisture is pulled out of it. This moisture is known as condensation, and it builds up on and drips off of your evaporator coils.

Normally, this is not a problem. The condensation drips into the drip pan and is drained out. If something is wrong with your air conditioner, however, that condensation can freeze up and build a layer of ice on your evaporator coils.

What causes frozen evaporator coils?

Frozen evaporator coils can be caused by a number of different problems. Some of the most common include:

  • –  Airflow issues. There are many ways that your air conditioner can develop airflow issues (a clogged air filter , duct leaks and blocked air registers, to name a few). If there is not enough return air blowing over your evaporator coils, your coils won’t have enough heat to absorb and they run the risk of freezing over.
  • –  Dirty evaporator coils. If you don’t schedule annual tune-ups for your air conditioner, or if you’re running your system with a dirty filter, dirt can build up on your evaporator coils. Along with causing comfort and efficiency issues, a layer of dirt on your coils will make it harder for them to absorb heat from your home’s air. Again, this can cause them to freeze over.
  • –  Low refrigerant levels. If your air conditioner has a refrigerant leak another issue which would be caught during your annual tune-up), it will not have an adequate amount of refrigerant to absorb heat from your home’s air. Without something to remove the heat, the coils can freeze up.

What should you do if you have frozen evaporator coils?

If your evaporator coils freeze over, give Hyde’s a call as soon as you can so we can get to the root of the problem and prevent it from happening again. While you’re waiting for us to arrive, go to your thermostat and turn it from “cool” to “off” in order to start the thawing process.

If you have any questions about a frozen evaporator coil, or if you’d like a cooling system serviced or installed in your home, contact Hydes, your Coachella Valley air conditioning contractor.