Ways to Troubleshoot Evaporator Coil Prior to Calling Air Conditioning Repair

Ways to Troubleshoot Evaporator Coil Prior to Calling Air Conditioning Repair

Sitting in a house on a hot and humid summer day with air conditioning malfunctioning, homeowners want to know how to get the cool air flowing again. One way to do this is by troubleshooting an evaporator coil that is frozen in the homes central air conditioning system. If not, this will at least lead them in the right direction to avoid further damage while arranging for air conditioning repair to fix the problem. When experiencing problems with air conditioning systems, it is not recommended to continue to operate them in hopes the issue will resolve itself. This can result in damage that is irreparable to such parts as the blower or compressor or possibly even experience water damage to the home.

Reasons Evaporator Coils Freeze

First thing a homeowner needs to keep in mind, evaporator coils need to be cold but not freezing. In systems functioning properly, refrigerant vapor circulates by the evaporator at approximately 40 degrees – which is the ideal temperature for extracting heat from the passing airflow evaporator coil but not cold enough to create ice.

When ice is found on the coil, more ice forms until the entire evaporator coil is covered with ice. Damage may happen to the coil as the blower fan struggles to grab air through the ice covered coil, often times overheating, or the A/C runs continuously, overstressing the compressor, with no off cycles.

Eventually, before air conditioning repair service is called, systems may shut down from overload protections or possibly a circuit may trip. Next, there may be gallons of water pouring outside as the air handler as the ice rapidly melts, possibly leaking through ceilings or soaking structure mechanisms.

What Homeowners Can Do

There are limited ways to troubleshoot a frozen evaporator coil by a homeowner that has average DIY skills, mostly, problems of this type require professional air conditioning repair technician. To begin the process when an evaporator freezes up:

  • First, be sure A/C unit at thermostat is turned off. Fan switch should be turned to “fan only” to speed melting. Have containers ready to catch dripping water as ice melts.
  • Next, the filter should be checked. One cause of coil icing is low system airflow, which reduction in airflow occurs with clogged filters.
  • Install new filter if old one is clogged or extremely dirty. After ice melts off coil, restart unit. Turn unit back off if icing reoccurs, call for air conditioning repair.

There are many other troubleshooting tasks that homeowners should not do, instead these require assistance of a professional air conditioning repair technician.

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