What To Do When Refrigerant Line Is Ice-Covered?

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When you’re working outside and notice a frozen air conditioner, it’s easy to panic. The good news is that your air conditioner is frozen for several reasons. A frozen refrigerant line or other issues can cause this to happen. Here are a few things to do when your air conditioning refrigerant line is covered in ice. 

What Is the Refrigerant Line?

Before we talk about how to thaw a frozen refrigerant line, let’s learn more about this part of your HVAC system. The refrigerant lines are essential components that connect your air conditioner to the evaporator coil inside your home. If you look inside your outdoor unit, you may notice copper lines. Ice can accumulate on the refrigerant lines if it is too cold outside or if something malfunctions in your HVAC unit. 

Why Is My Air Conditioner Refrigerant Line Covered In Ice?

If you notice ice on your air conditioner refrigerant line, don’t panic. Homeowners may wonder, “Are AC evaporator coils and refrigerant lines supposed to be covered in ice?” The answer is, no. But, we will explore a few reasons you may experience this issue. 

Poor Air Flow

As with other places in your HVAC system, things break down if all the components do not have proper airflow. If the evaporator coils do not receive proper airflow, they can get too cold and cause the unit to freeze up. The copper lines, or refrigerant lines, attached to the unit will also freeze. If you notice bits of ice on the lines, it could mean poor airflow. 

Unclean Air Filters

We understand changing your air conditioning filters is another thing to remember as a busy homeowner. However, frequently changing your air filters is the easiest thing you can do for your HVAC system. Dirty air filters will clog your air conditioner and make it work harder than it should. It keeps air from flowing and can lead to a frozen unit. Clean filters will save you money in unnecessary repairs and extend the life of your system. 

Supply Vents & Return Vents

If you think closing unused vents will save energy and extend your system, think again. Closing supply vents will make your system work harder than it needs to, causing the air conditioner to freeze. The same is true with your return vents. If something is blocking your return vents, preventing proper airflow, you can end up with frozen pipes, lines, or an entire unit. 

If you’re wondering what causes parts of an air conditioner to freeze up, these are a few reasons. Now that we’ve learned some things that cause your air conditioner to freeze let’s look at what to do when the lines are ice-covered. 

What To Do When the Refrigerant Line Is Ice-Covered

It’s easy to panic when your AC stops working. But when this happens, the best to do is to slow down and troubleshoot the issue before you call your local HVAC company. Here are a few things to get your system working again. 

Turn Off the Unit

While this may seem like an obvious step, some people forget to turn off the unit. Leaving it running will only cause further damage to your unit. Turn off the unit and let it thaw out before you investigate further. Depending on the amount of ice, it may take anywhere from 1 to 24 hours before your unit is completely thawed. Once it is ice-free, you can inspect a few other places for the root cause. 

Inspect the Evaporator Coils

If you notice ice on the refrigerant line, chances are there is also ice on the evaporator coils. When you have air conditioner frozen pipes outside, it’s often a sign of dirty evaporator coils. This can result from poor airflow from the filters or vents. It’s important not to scrape ice from air conditioner frozen pipes. This can cause more damage. Once the unit is thawed, check the coils and use a light brush to remove the dirt from the coils. 

Check For Refrigerant Leaks

Ice-covered refrigerant lines can mean you have a leak in the lines. Look carefully to see if you notice a crack or break in the line. If so, contact your HVAC professionals to come to repair the line. 

Restore Your System

After you troubleshoot the issue, it’s time to restore your system. Do not turn your system back on if you have a refrigerant leak. This can create further damage to yourself and your system, as refrigerant is a toxic chemical. Your HVAC professionals will handle that for you. If everything seems OK after changing your filter and dusting off the coils, turn your system back on. Carefully watch your unit for several hours to make sure it doesn’t freeze again. 

Contact Us For AC Services Today

The HVAC professionals at Total Home Environmental in Torrance are ready to help you with your air conditioner needs. When your AC stops working, contact us for service right away.

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