1. What causes AC pipes to freeze?
Blocked airflow over evaporator coils
Your AC is a machine where hot air from the outside comes inside it and this is expelled as cool air in your home. For this operation to happen, airflow should have no obstructions. Converting hot air into cool air is the role of evaporator coils. Evaporator coils contain a large web of refrigerant. The cold refrigerant is flowing inside the coils and this makes warm air that is passing through lose its warmth and humidity producing dry and cool air. Because of this process, this will avoid the refrigerant from freezing. When warm air comes in contact with a cold coil a process called condensation occurs which means that small water droplets will be formed in the evaporator coils. Ideally, these small water droplets collect into the drip pan and eventually pass through the drip line. However, when there is not enough warm air passing through the evaporator coil, the evaporator will quickly ice and this ice will travel along the refrigerant line. Ice builds faster when humid air hits the coils and the process of condensing and freezing continues. Problems that can result in obstructed flow are the following:
- Clogged or dirty air filter
- Dirty evaporator coil
- Blocked or closed vents
- Bent or collapsed air ducts
- Problems in the blower vents
Low refrigerant levels
Refrigerant is the chemical that runs through the evaporator coil and it is responsible for cooling the air. When the refrigerant levels are low, it causes ice formation. The reason why it has low levels is due to a leak in the refrigerant. When it leaks, the pressure inside the evaporator coil also decreases, and as the pressure drops, so as the temperature of the refrigerant drops. Low temperatures will lead to ice formation. Signs when the refrigerant is leaking:
- The AC never seems to shut off or is running much longer than usual
- AC is blowing warm air
- A sudden increase in the electrical bill
2. What if your AC pipes freeze up?
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