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What Causes AC Pipes To Freeze?

So your air conditioning system suddenly stopped blowing cold air, and after a closer examination, you found ice on your AC unit’s refrigerant pipe? You must be curious to know if that’s something normal.

Is it normal, then?

Well, ice build-up on your air conditioning unit is pretty normal if you live in sub 50-degree weather. But here in Corsicana, TX, where the annual high-temperature averages at 77 degrees, ice anywhere on your air conditioner is probably not a good thing.

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What caused your AC unit’s refrigerant pipe to freeze?

If you have ice building on your air conditioner refrigerant pipe, it may signify one of these two AC problems:

  • Restricted airflow over the evaporator coil
  • Low refrigerant levels

Not sure which problem you have?

Don’t worry.

In this blog, we are going to take a look at both of these problems, and understand why they lead to an ice build-up on your air conditioning system and what you can do to fix the issue.

Looking for an AC repair professional in Corsicana, Texas? Just get in touch with us, and we will send an expert technician to inspect and repair your air conditioner in no time.

Restricted flow of air over the evaporator coil

The evaporator coil is the part of your air conditioning unit that actually cools the air.

Here’s how it works: The evaporator coil is basically a large web of refrigerant (liquid/gas) that absorbs the heat from the inside of your home. Once the refrigerant absorbs the heat, the (now) cool air is transferred to your home.

And… if there is not enough warm, unconditioned air blowing through your AC unit’s evaporator coils, then the refrigerant gets a little too cold. This can end up causing the refrigerant pipes that connect to your outdoor air conditioning unit to freeze quickly.

So, what restricts the flow of air over the evaporator coils in the first place?

Some of the problems that may lead to restricted airflow issue with your air conditioner’s evaporator coils may include:

  • A clogged air filter
  • Dirt on your evaporator coil
  • Issues with the blower fan
  • Collapsed or leaky air ducts
  • Closed or blocked air vents

How to fix the issue?

Step 1: Turn your thermostat setting from “cool” to “off” immediately.

Step 2: Turn the thermostat fan setting to “on” and wait at least 3 hours before you turn your AC unit back to “cool.” When you turn the thermostat setting to “on,” the blower constantly absorbs warm air from the inside of your home and blows it all over those cold evaporator coils, which ultimately helps thaw the ice on the refrigerant pipes.

Step 3: Take a good look at your AC filter. If it looks dirty, you should replace it with a new one immediately.

Step 4: Make sure all return vents (where warm air enters your AC system to be cooled) are clean and unobstructed by furniture, drapes, etc. and your supply vents (where cold air enters your home) are open. This will help improve airflow into your system.

If you have checked for the problems above and have not yet found the reason your AC is freezing, get in touch with one of our AC experts. We will take a good look at your air conditioner to make sure its blower, evaporator coil, ductwork, and other important components are all in good shape.

Low refrigerant levels

As your AC’s refrigerant levels drop, so does the temperature of the refrigerant inside the evaporator coils — and that ultimately causes ice to build up on the refrigerant pipe.

But here’s the thing: refrigerants inside your air conditioner circulate in a closed-loop (i.e., from your outdoor unit to your indoor unit). So, if your AC unit has low refrigerant levels, it is very likely that the refrigerant has found a way to leak.

Some of the signs you probably have a refrigerant leak include:

  • You hear noises coming from the refrigerant pipe.
  • The air coming out of the vents is warm.
  • Your electricity bills are higher than usual.

How to fix the issue?

Given that refrigerant is a toxic chemical, if you think you have a refrigerant leak based on the signs mentioned above, it is better to leave your AC repairs to the professionals.

So first, call up an AC repair specialist near you ASAP. And while you wait for them to show up, follow these two steps:

Step 1: Turn your thermostat setting from “cool” to “off” immediately.

Step 2: Turn the thermostat fan setting to “on” and wait at least 3 hours before you turn your AC unit back to “cool.” When you turn the thermostat setting to “on,” the blower constantly absorbs warm air from the inside of your home and blows it all over those cold evaporator coils, which ultimately helps thaw the ice on the refrigerant pipes.

Need help determining what is causing ice build-up on your AC unit?

Ice build-up on your AC unit is a telltale sign that your unit has problems and most likely needs repair. If you are looking for some professional help from a Corsicana TX Air Conditioning Specialist, give us a call today. The team of AC repair experts at Area Wide Services can easily identify everything that is wrong with your air conditioner and fix it quickly and thoroughly.

Call Area Wide Services at (903) 874-5298 for a free estimate.

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