Frozen Evaporator Coils And Your Air Conditioner

Posted on: 3 August 2016

Although air conditioners are designed to keep working under harsh environmental conditions, they are hardly invincible. The more you understand the sort of issues an AC is vulnerable to, the better you can protect against them. If you would like to increase your understanding of common air conditioner problems, read on. This article will provide a useful overview of the problems caused by frozen evaporator coils.

The Role Of The Evaporator

The evaporator is one of the most crucial components in an air conditioner. Here the refrigerant, which flows through a looped network of pipes, absorbs the heat from warm air. The cooled air is then sent back into your home. The refrigerant, which has transformed to a gas in the process of absorbing the heat, is changed back to its liquid state by the condenser.

Freezing Coils

As the refrigerant absorbs heat from the air, it tends to cause latent water vapor to condense on the evaporator coils. In a well functioning system--one with the necessary amount of air flow--this water then drips down into the condensate pan and drains away through the condensate tube. In cases where the air flow is insufficient, however, water tends to remain on the coils, where the still cold refrigerant causes it to freeze. This makes it increasingly more difficult for the needed transfer of heat to take place between evaporator and air.

Common Causes

Frozen coils are almost always tied to some sort of problem with the system of air circulation. For instance, problems with the intake motor may result in an insufficient amount of air being sucked into the machine. Problems may also stem from an air filter that has become excessively dirty, thus reducing air flow.

In some cases, the problem does not have to do with circulation but with the coils themselves. Coils that have developed a thick layer of dirt or grime will be much less efficient at transferring energy. By reducing the refrigerant's ability to absorb heat, this promotes a colder environment overall--one that often leads to frozen condensate on the coils.

Worse Problems

Frozen evaporator coils reduce the overall efficiency of your air conditioner, making it have to work much harder in order to achieve the desired level of cooling. Yet the problems don't stop there. If allowed to persist long enough, frozen coils can end up ruining your entire air conditioner. That's because, with each successive cycle of freeze and thaw, the coils are subjected to large amounts of stress. This may lead to cracks, holes, and other expensive--and potentially irreversible--forms of damage.

For assistance, talk to a professional like Ron Hammes Refrigeration.