What Are Frozen Evaporator Coils and How Should You Deal With Them?

Given the fact that an air conditioner provides cool air for your home, you’d expect that certain system components get cold during every cooling cycle. But if you notice that your air conditioner’s evaporator coils are completely frozen over, that’s a tell-tale sign that something is wrong with your system. Today we’re going to talk about this common air conditioner problem and what you should do if you have frozen evaporator coils in your home!

How do evaporator coils freeze over?

When your air conditioner is cooling your home’s air, it also removes a certain amount of moisture from the air. This moisture builds up on your evaporator coils and drips off similar to the way that condensation drips off the side of a soda can that’s sitting in heat.

This is all a natural part of your air conditioner’s cooling cycles. However, there are certain problems that can force this condensation to freeze on the evaporator coils and cause severe comfort and efficiency problems.

What are the common problems that lead to frozen evaporator coils?

  • Low refrigerant levels. One of the most common causes of frozen evaporator coils is low refrigerant levels. If your system has a refrigerant leak, or if it was undercharged to begin with, there will not be enough refrigerant inside your evaporator coils to absorb heat from your home’s air. This can allow the condensation on the coils to freeze over.
  • Airflow issues. If your air conditioner is experiencing any sort of airflow issues, such as those caused by a clogged filter or malfunctioning air handler, there won’t be enough air for your evaporator coils to absorb heat from, which can cause the coils to freeze.
  • Dirty coils. Dirt can build up on your evaporator coils over time, especially if you don’t receive annual tune-ups and/or don’t stay on top of checking your filter every month. A layer of dirt will make it harder for your evaporator coils to absorb heat from your home’s air, which is another issue that can lead to frozen evaporator coils.

What should you do if you have frozen evaporator coils?

If you notice that your air conditioner has frozen evaporator coils, you should first shut down your system and allow it to thaw. Next, check your air filter to see whether or not it is clogged. If you have a clogged filter, be sure to replace it with a fresh one.

If a clogged filter doesn’t seem to be the issue, or if this is a repeated problem, be sure to give Cabrillo a call so that we can find the source of the problem and fix it before it damages your system and increases your energy bills.

If you have any questions about frozen evaporator coils, or if you’d like a cooling system serviced or installed in your home, contact Cabrillo, your Bay Area plumbing, heating and air conditioning contractor.