Summers get hot and humid in Downers Grove, IL. Making sure your HVAC system doesn’t fail can provide you and your family with a more comfortable indoor experience. Remember, HVAC systems can freeze over if certain conditions are present. Being aware of what might cause this problem can help you stop it before the issue breaks your air conditioner.

About Frozen HVAC Systems

It’s the cooling part of your HVAC unit that can freeze. When ice begins to form over the compressor, the unit no longer works properly. You’ll want to turn off the system right away to lower the odds of further damage. It takes time to thaw an HVAC unit. Once it’s free of ice, contact a professional to help you figure out why it froze. If you don’t get a proper assessment and repair, the freezing can happen again. Repeated freezing and thawing can destroy the system and require the expense of a replacement.

Signs of Freezing

It’s tempting to go after the ice buildup with an ice pick, but that’s not a good idea. Because of the thickness of the ice, it’s difficult to see the surface below. It’s very easy to permanently damage the unit with a pick or other sharp object. This type of damage can be expensive to repair and can even require a replacement unit. A unit that freezes over may require a day or two to return it to good working order.

Here are a few signs that indicate freezing may occur or has already begun:

  • Buzzing sound when AC turns on
  • Condensation forms on the condensate drain
  • Condensation forms on unit’s surface
  • Dramatic temperature drops from AC system
  • External ice on compressor

How to Prevent Freezing

It’s important to keep your HVAC system maintained by a qualified technician. Skipping seasonal tune-ups allows hidden problems to persist and grow. A skilled technician can spot issues that might lead to freezing. It’s to your advantage to schedule a maintenance visit before the summer heat arrives.

The Causes of Freezing

Not all freezing issues are the same. Sometimes the entire compressor becomes covered in ice. Other times the condensate drain can ice over before the compressor does, giving an owner time to address the issue. These are the four most common causes of freezing.

1. Disrupted Airflow

Both blocking or closing air vents in the home and damage to ductwork can disrupt airflow. These disruptions to airflow can cause condensation to form. Condensation can eventually turn into ice.

2. Faulty Parts

A faulty fan or blower can cause a lot of HVAC issues, including freezing. Without sufficient air flowing through the AC system, coils can freeze. Regular maintenance can identify faulty parts and give you the opportunity to replace them before internal condensation occurs.

3. Poor Drainage

A clogged condensate drain prevents water from moving away from the unit. Instead, the water remains inside the system and can eventually freeze. A drain opening can also get blocked by frozen coils. This combination creates a backup of water and ice that builds and freezes the entire system. Drain openings should always be free of dirt and debris. We include a general cleaning away of dirt and debris as part of our maintenance services.

4. Refrigerant Problems

Low refrigerant levels cause coils to become too cold, which leads to freezing. A knowledgeable technician can check refrigerant levels and top them off if necessary. Inadequate refrigerant can also cause damage to the coils. Damaged coils can lead to a compressor failure and the need to replace the unit.

Professional HVAC Services in Your Area

Fire 'n' Ice Heating & Cooling, Inc. is your local family-owned and -operated heating and cooling company in Downers Grove. We offer experienced repairs, maintenance, and installation services. We’ve provided top-quality workmanship and trusted results since 1977. We hire NATE-certified technicians to serve your indoor comfort needs. Check out our A+ rating and accredited status with our community’s Better Business Bureau. You can also call on us for indoor air quality testing and commercial heating and cooling services.

Contact the experts at Fire 'n' Ice Heating & Cooling, Inc. today to schedule a maintenance appointment for your home.

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