Top Tips To Dealing With Frozen Auto A/C Evaporator Coils
Frozen auto A/C evaporator coils can appear even when weather is hot, with temperatures above ninety degrees. This might seem like a good thing to drivers who see them, but they aren’t. Below is a description of why this happens and what should be done about it.
In hot climates, especially those which are humid, the evaporator coil will need to operate harder to eliminate the excess humidity that is present within the vehicle. Once it has been removed, condensation will appear and be drained away. This works well, except when the drainpipe is clogged, which can lead to the coils freezing. The solution in this case is to unclog the drainpipe.
Problems With Airflow
Sometimes the flow of air coming through the blower is disrupted. It can happen for many reasons, but the most common is an air filter which has become dirty. Other culprits include incorrect sized filters, ductwork which is damaged or too small, a heat pump or handler which has become dirty, closed vents or grills which have become blocked, or a blower motor that has malfunctioned. To fix this problem the air filter will either need to be replaced or cleaned, and for the other issues you might need the assistance of a technician.
Low External Temperatures
Neither the handler nor heat pump will operate correctly when external temperatures are lower than sixty degrees. Depending on the air conditioning system you have, your evaporator coils might freeze if you’re operating the A/C with these temperatures. The best solution is to monitor the thermostat, and avoid using the A/C at night or early in the morning when the temperatures tend to be lower. Many thermostats are programmable so you can set them in the way you want.
Problems With Refrigerant
The refrigerant used in AC units usually comes in the form of Freon, which is designed to operate within a system that is closed. Therefore, it shouldn’t need replacement unless a leak has occurred. Leakage is usually the result of wear and tear and can occur for a while without being noticed. Drivers who operate their air conditioning with refrigerant levels that are low create excess strain and this will manifest itself with the buildup of ice on the evaporator coils. While some say you can replace refrigerant yourself, this is not recommended as it is a chemical which can be hazardous and therefore should only be handled by an expert.
Inspecting Your Evaporator Coil
If you think something is wrong with your air conditioning, a visual inspection of the coils will help. Access the refrigerant line and look for ice around it, and also check the air handler to see if moisture or condensation is there. If you notice that the drain pan is overflowing or full, this could mean the drainpipe is clogged. You can also open the air handler and view the coil directly to see if any ice is on it.