Air conditioner cleaning by a man. Technician cleans condensing unit of air conditioner by spraying water. Air conditioner maintenance service at home or office. Worker working for ac maintenance.

No one wants their AC unit to stop blowing cool air on a hot summer day. While there can be several causes of AC units losing efficiency or stopping altogether, one of the most common ways to tell there is an issue is seeing ice buildup on the pipes leading from the unit to your home.

Since we’re in California, ice buildup on a unit should not be a common occurrence because our temperatures don’t get too low. If you see excessive ice on the pipes, it’s likely there is an issue which needs to be addressed.

Our company is based right here in the Bay Area, and we have had the pleasure of serving the heating, ventilation and cooling needs of Pleasant Hill and the surrounding areas for years. Our goal is to help our customers feel comfortable in their homes, and our team of professional, courteous and licensed technicians are always happy to help people in need of HVAC services.

Today we’ll discuss why an AC unit freezes and what to do when it happens. There are two main reasons a unit can experience freezing, and different causes for each reason, so let’s jump in and talk about each issue.

The first reason for excessive ice buildup is due to a problem with airflow to the unit. The unit functions by taking in warm air, cooling it down using the coolant inside (which exists at negative temperatures) and then circulating the cooled air through your home.

If there isn’t enough warm air flowing into the unit, the very cold temperature of the coolant will cause the coil to freeze and cool air will no longer flow. Since the issue is with air coming in, the issue usually lies in some sort of blockage which won’t allow air inside the unit. The most common issues limiting air flow are dirty air filters, malfunctioning fans or buildup of dust or other materials in ducts. 

The second most common issue which leads to a frozen AC system is a low level of refrigerant. While this might not make logical sense, when there is less refrigerant in the system the temperature actually drops inside the unit, which can lead to a frozen coil.

Some key signs of potential refrigerant issues are freezing, higher utility bills and/or warm air coming through the vents. If you suspect a leak, contact an HVAC professional as soon as possible.

If your system does freeze, the first thing to do is to turn the cooling function off and turn the fan on. Removing the cooling factor will allow the ice to thaw, and the fan being in the on position will bring in warm air to make the thaw go faster. From there, an HVAC professional can diagnose and correct the issue. 

If your unit has frozen, or if you would like to set up preventative maintenance to hopefully keep an issue from occurring in the future, we would love to help. Give us a call today if you need assistance with any HVAC issue!