When temperatures in Lake County hit the mid-80s, the last thing you expect to see is a sheet of ice coating your outdoor air conditioning unit. As disconcerting as this may be, air conditioner freeze-up is a common occurrence during the cooling season. Quickly attending to the problem can eliminate costly air conditioning repair work down the road.

Causes of Air Conditioner Freeze-up

When your air conditioner freezes up, what actually freezes is the evaporator coil. There are three core reasons for air conditioner freeze-up:

  • Airflow problems. Clogged filters, blocked or undersized ductwork, a blocked air intake register, a damaged blower motor and dirt buildup on the evaporator coil all contribute to reduced airflow.
  • Low refrigerant. Refrigerant transfers the heat from your home to the outside. If the refrigerant is low, the heat is not transferred, and the coil becomes too cold; moisture in the air around the coil then freezes, and ice begins to accumulate. A low refrigerant level may also indicate a leak in the air conditioner’s refrigerant lines.
  • Outdoor temperature. Most air conditioners do not perform well when the night-time temperature drops below 60 degrees.

What to Do if Your AC Freezes Up

When you notice frost or ice on your AC unit, immediately turn off the unit at the thermostat and let it defrost. This may take several hours depending on how much ice has accumulated. After the unit is defrosted, you can troubleshoot the problem in several ways:

  • Check the air registers to make sure nothing is blocking them and that the air flow is efficient.
  • Clean or replace clogged filters.
  • Inspect the part of your ductwork you are able to reach; clean out any debris.
  • Turn the air conditioner back on and monitor it for a while; if frost begins to re-accumulate, call the professionals at Assurance Heating & Air Conditioning and ask them to check the refrigerant level and remaining ductwork. The technician will also check your system to make sure no equipment has been damaged that requires air conditioning repair work.

Regular AC maintenance is the most effective way to prevent air conditioner freeze-up. The qualified service technicians at Assurance Heating & Air Conditioning will inspect your unit to make sure it has optimal air flow and that the refrigerant is at the proper level. Paying attention to the weatherman can pay dividends, too. When the Lake County forecast calls for night-time temperatures to drop, turn off your air conditioner.