It’s no secret that the warm Georgia sun can be too hot to handle year-round, especially in the summer. But that heat is precisely why so many air conditioner users are so shocked the first time they see their HVAC systems freeze up.
Believe it or not, an HVAC system and its internal parts freezing over is standard worldwide, even in warm places like Georgia. So below, we’ll look closer at the most common reasons why an HVAC freezing up in summer happens, what you can do to avoid it, and where to go if your freezing issues require in-depth fixes.
Your HVAC’s refrigerant allows it to take warm air outdoors and transform it into the cool air that greets your home when you turn on the machine. But if the refrigerant gets too cold, it will force moisture into the air that slowly frosts before freezing up your entire AC unit.
AC refrigerant temperature plummets for several reasons, but low refrigerant levels are the most common. If enough coolant leaves the system, your HVAC won’t be able to regulate air temperature accurately. Not only can this cause your AC to freeze, but it can also overwork your machine past its limits.
Low refrigerant levels come from a system leak more often than not, which is why your HVAC freezing up in summer is more common than in winter. The more you use your AC system, the likelier it is to spring a leak. And when that leak settles in, running your HVAC through the hot summer months will force more refrigerant out.
Clogged Air Filter
An HVAC freezing up in summer can destroy the entire system from the inside. But luckily, the most common reason AC units freeze up in the summer is also the simplest for amateur HVAC technicians to fix.
People often run their AC units with clogged or dirty air filters. The filters are supposed to keep outside pollutants from contaminating your air conditioner’s airflow. However, those contaminants will build up and disrupt the unit’s airstream if you don’t replace them enough.
That contaminant blockage traps the air trying to escape your HVAC within the system. And in the summer, when you’re trying to keep your house cool, that trapped airflow is cold enough to freeze the unit.
Unfortunately, some people lower their thermostats and speed up the freezing process when they have an airflow problem. Not only does trapped air freeze your AC from the inside, but since it doesn’t have an escape point, it can’t reach your living spaces. That means people will run their ACs longer and at colder temperatures.
Clogged air filters also contaminate the air that does make it through the AC with the dust and debris causing the blockage. Our experts recommend replacing your HVAC system’s air filter once per month if you use it regularly to avoid both issues.
Dirty or Broken Coils
When your air conditioner’s coils work perfectly, they extract all the heat from the outside summer air that your HVAC takes in and transfer it back outdoors. Unfortunately, AC coils aren’t always working perfectly, and something as insignificant as dirt buildup plummets their functionality and causes your AC to freeze up.
A thick enough dirt layer will insulate the coils and prevent the warmth it’s supposed to absorb from entering. And since AC coils house your unit’s refrigerant, dirty ones won’t be able to escape the constant cold and will eventually freeze themselves. Broken AC coils also cannot absorb warmth and will bring similar issues.
It’s essential to quickly fix your AC coil issues, as any persisting problem will shut your HVAC system down entirely. But before you call an air conditioning repair service, try swapping out the air filter. Sometimes heat absorption issues have more to do with a clogged air filter keeping heat out than a malfunctioning coil struggling to take it in.
Your AC’s thermostat lets you control the air temperature from the outside, but this external part presents significant internal issues when it breaks.
If you can’t change your thermostat’s temperature or it’s producing air colder than what it displays, it can freeze your AC from constant exposure to the frigid temperature. Though thermostat issues don’t typically freeze your AC in the summer when the external temperature is warm enough to support cold airflow, it can technically present a problem any time of year.
Most HVAC systems comfortably handle external temperatures as low as 60 degrees Fahrenheit. But if you’re still running your AC when the outside temperature drops below that, you’ll risk your broken thermostat’s poorly regulated air temperature freezing your HVAC.
Poorly Running Fan
Believe it or not, excessive internal heat can lead to your HVAC freezing up in the summer. And most often, overheating issues happen because of a broken or improperly set blower fan.
If your blower fan is running slow or not running at all, it won’t produce enough airflow to cool down the AC coils, which will eventually form moisture from the extra heat. That moisture will then freeze due to proximity to the AC coolant when the outside temperature drops.
Not Enough Exit Points
AC systems need open ducts while running for the same reason they need clean air filters; if the air can’t escape the unit, it will freeze the AC from the inside.
Duct-based air conditioners connect to two types of ductwork; the return ducts and the supply ducts. The return ducts bring the hot outside air to the air handler, which chills the temperature and sends the now-cool air out through the supply duct.
If either duct is closed or blocked, or if you’ve shut too many vents, the air won’t have anywhere to go and will either freeze the AC from low air temperature or create condensation from warm air that eventually freezes.
Air conditioning systems have several essential parts, from coils to fans to other vital features. And if just one of those parts wears down or collects enough dirt, it can lead to your HVAC freezing up in summer.
A brand new HVAC can run consistently for a few years before slowing down, but wear and tear will settle in once it adds some mileage, which breaks those parts and leads to freezing issues.
Annual maintenance services let you avoid those repeated breaks. But eventually, you’ll need to decide whether you want to prevent AC freezing by constantly maintaining your old one or springing for a new installation.
How Can I Fix My HVAC System?
Try cleaning your HVAC system before attempting complex DIY repairs. As we looked at above, an HVAC freezing up in summer generally happens when the internal parts are too dirty to complete essential functions. Replacing and washing those problematic parts can give your AC new life in minutes.
You can also heat a frozen HVAC system with a hairdryer or turn the unit off and wait 24 hours for the warm summer sun to melt the ice naturally.
For the more significant issues, turn to Georgia Air Cooling & Heating for Richmond Hill’s trusted HVAC services. Our expert HVAC technicians will diagnose all your AC’s critical and hidden issues and fix them quickly for an affordable rate.
Should I Repair My Old HVAC or Install a New One
If your HVAC system is only a couple of years old and doesn’t have any issues outside of repeated freezing, you’re probably better off repairing over replacing.
You can often trace your AC freezing up in summer back to user error or minor fixes like opening ducts, replacing the air filter, and cleaning the coils more than a significant part break. And even if your AC does need a massive repair, spot fixes and regular maintenance from Georgia Air Cooling & Heating will keep it running well if it’s relatively new.
On the other hand, installing a brand-new air conditioner can save you money in the long term if you’re approaching a decade of regular use with your AC and need a significant yearly repair. New ACs freeze and break less, but they are also far more feature-rich and energy-efficient than dated units.
Professional HVAC Repair and Maintenance from Georgia Air Cooling & Heating
Georgia Air Cooling & Heating is your trusted HVAC repair and maintenance company for all your air conditioning needs. We work across dozens of communities in Southeast Georgia and offer 100% satisfaction guarantees to every household.
Our expert technicians know how to diagnose any AC problem regardless of brand or unit, and we provide several special offers to keep our unbeatable services affordable. So when you see your HVAC freezing up in summer and don’t know how to fix it, you can count on our team for fast repairs that won’t break the bank.