While there are many reasons why your AC system might not be getting the job done, today we’re going to focus on just two: a clogged filter and a frozen coil.
Both, in fact, are in your system’s air handler which, in New England, probably means it’s in the attic.
AC filters trap dirt and dust to help keep them out of your indoor air. But unless they’re cleaned or replaced regularly, the flow of cool air will become more and more restricted.Until you catch on, your utility bills will climb, and your AC system will undergo an ever increasing amount of wear and tear.
And then there’s the evaporator coil, located inside the air handler cabinet. Big picture wise, the air handler is the part of an air conditioning system that circulates air through the home. It pulls air in through the intake vents which then passes over the cooling elements, one of which is the evaporator coil. Its job is to absorb outdoor heat and cool it with the help of a refrigerant.
As you go about inspecting your system, check the filter first. You’ll know right away if it needs to be cleaned or replaced. But let’s say it does, and you do, but your system still isn’t keeping you cool. Our advice? Head back up to the attic, open the air handler cabinet door, and look at the evaporator coil – because it might just be frozen.
What to Do if Your Evaporator Coil is Frozen
Turn off the AC at the thermostat to prevent or minimize further damage. Turn the fan switch to “fan only” to blow warm air over the coils and hasten melting. If ice on the coil extends beyond the dimensions of the condensate drip pan beneath the air handler, be ready with containers to catch the dripping water and prevent water damage.
Then, assuming you’ve cleaned or replaced your filter, wait for the ice to melt, and then restart the system. If icing recurs, shut down the system and call in professional help.
What Low Refrigerant Levels Can Do
Another way an evaporator coil can freeze is from a lack of refrigerant, perhaps caused by a leak. When you call on Pann Home Services to solve the problem, that’s one of the things we’ll check for.
Occasionally a leak can’t be repaired. In that case, one of the coils will need to be replaced. That’s a costly repair, and one that will make you think seriously about replacing your system, especially if it’s at or more than 10 years old.
One way to prevent problems with your AC system – including a frozen air handler – is with annual preventive maintenance performed by Pann Home Services, your local air conditioning, heating, and plumbing professionals. In fact, we can help prevent a boatload of problems and extend the life of your system while we’re at it. Call today to schedule professional maintenance and give yourself one less thing to worry about.