The warm weather seems to be finally sticking around here in Portland, OR. The sunshine is starting to be more frequent then the rain. That means warmer temperatures. Time to start cranking down the indoor temperature and get that air conditioner running. This time of year, we here at Comfort Solutions Heating & Cooling start getting a lot of calls on air conditioners freezing up.
If you have done your annual maintenance on your air conditioner then chances are you won’t have an issue this summer. After all, it is about the only way to minimize the chances of having something seriously go wrong with your equipment. For the rest of us, we just pray that it makes it thru the summer. Problem is that it if something is going to go wrong, it usually happens at the hottest part of the year.
Before you make that first call to your HVAC contractor, turn off your air conditioner, and turn on the fan. For a service technician to diagnose the issue, the system needs to be defrosted. It usually only takes a day, sometimes two, depending on the size of the unit, how much ice has accumulated and how much sun hits it in order to help it defrost faster.
Restricted Air Flow
If your air conditioner is frozen, check your air filter. If the filter is dirty, it will restrict the air flow. This means that there is no air flowing thru your air conditioner to prevent the condensate on the coil from freezing.
You may be able to save yourself a little bit of money by defrosting the unit. Just turn off the unit, and turn on the fan. Check and if needed, replace the air filter. Once it has defrosted, start your air conditioner back up. If it starts cooling then the dirty air filter may be your culprit.
Even if you are one that gets annual maintenance on their heating and cooling equipment, you may want to set a reminder to check your filter every three months. Your heating and cooling will thank you for it.
If defrosting the air conditioner, and changing the filter does not help, then you may have a refrigerant leak. Leaks can happen for a variety of reasons. If your air conditioner is an r-22, then you may need to consider replacing it over repairing it. R-22 refrigerant is higher in cost because of being phased out, so prepare yourself for a high repair bill.
R-410 units are a little easier to repair. This because the cost of replacing the refrigerant isn’t as high. It may be more cost effective to purchase a new unit if your current one is old.
It is always best to check with your local HVAC contractor to get a cost of repair vs a quote for new equipment to help you decide.