When you turn on your air conditioner, the refrigerant flows into the evaporator for expansion. The expanded refrigerant cools down enough to absorb heat from the indoor spaces and cool them down. If the air conditioner isn't working correctly, the coils may allow the refrigerant to cool too much, causing it to freeze. The coils will freeze as well, leading to an AC malfunction. By following these four air conditioning maintenance tips, you can prevent your split air unit from freezing up.
Clean or Replace the Air Filter
One major cause of ice formation in an air conditioner is poor airflow. If the air filter is clogged, there won't be adequate airflow in the unit. Consequently, the cool refrigerant will freeze up and cause ice to form on the coils. Therefore, check your unit's air filter for dirt build-up and blockage. If you have a reusable filter, remove it and clean it using water and dish soap. Allow the filter to dry before using it in your AC. If your filter is non-reusable, replace it to improve airflow in the unit.
Clean the Evaporator Coils
Dust and debris trapped in the air filter may find their way into your coils. Since the coils are usually wet on the outside due to condensation, dirt can easily stick to the surface. Over time, the accumulated dirt acts as an insulator, preventing the cold from escaping the coils. Consequently, ice will form on the coils. Regularly clean the coils to get rid of dirt and debris. If you live in a dusty environment, clean your coils more often to prevent ice formation.
Recharge AC Refrigerant
Low refrigerant can lead to AC inefficiency and inadequate cooling. Since the refrigerant is the fluid that cools the air, your unit needs enough of it to work properly. A puncture on the refrigerant line can cause the fluid to leak. Low refrigerant causes pressure to drop in the evaporator coils. Condensation forms on the coils, causing them to freeze up. You can avoid this by regularly checking the refrigerant levels in your AC. Recharge the low refrigerant to prevent frozen coils and ensure adequate cooling.
Program Your Thermostat
Do you run your air conditioner on summer nights? If the temperature drops significantly at night, it can throw your unit out of whack. Since the air in the AC is already cold, the cold refrigerant will have little heat to absorb, causing it to freeze up. You can prevent this problem by programming your thermostat at night. If the temperature drops below the thermostat setting, the AC switches off automatically to prevent freezing.
Observe the above maintenance tips to protect your air conditioner from freezing up. Don't forget to schedule annual professional tune-ups for optimal unit performance.