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Summer Ice: When Your AC Gets Too Cold

air conditioning service vancouver wa (above: freezing in the capillary expansion valve connection)

It is an ironic sight to see your outdoor AC unit frozen despite the warm temperature outside.  A freezing AC unit is, however, one of the most common problems that can occur, and time is of the essence.  If it is 90 degrees outside and your outdoor AC unit is frozen over, it is time to call a Nate®-certified air conditioning service.  Problems beget problems, and if it is 90 degrees outside, you do not want to take any risks with that precious cool air.


What is the Problem?


In technical, sciency terms, an AC unit runs on the Joule-Thompson Effect, which holds that if all things are constant, expanding gas that decreases in pressure will also cause a decrease in temperature; if this process is altered, it can overcool the system.  In layman’s terms, your evaporator coil is freezing and the problem needs to be found.  It can be caused by:


  • Running the AC when the outside temperature is too low (below 62 degrees)


  • A refrigerant leak.


  • A lack of air flow over the evaporator coil.


  • A mechanical failure.


What Can it Lead To?


Left unrepaired, it can result in damage to the unit or outright failure.  Water molecules expand when they turn to ice and there is often finite space between the parts of the unit.  This can cause pipes to be damaged, bend the delicate fins that form the unit’s honeycomb-like exterior, and other problems.  An AC unit that is frozen over should be shut off immediately.


How Can an Air Conditioning Service Help?


A quality air conditioning service technician knows exactly what is happening and knows where to start troubleshooting to locate the problem.  Among other inspections, a qualified technician will:


  • Examine the outdoor unit for visible damage. Clearly, any damage that is readily apparent will need to be addressed.


  • Check for any physical interference from tree branches and other debris. Natural debris can easily find its way inside an outdoor unit over the course of time.


  • Test the refrigerant level. Unlike other mechanical fluids, the refrigerant level is not supposed to decrease over time – instead the same refrigerant is constantly recycled; therefore, when a unit is low on refrigerant, it is usually a sign that something is wrong.  The technician will also be interested in how fast the unit is losing refrigerant, which will determine how aggressively the problem should be addressed.


  • At the indoor half of the HVAC unit, the technician will check the cleanliness of the filter, check for any blockage that might be preventing proper air flow, check for damage to the blower fan, and check the efficiency of the airflow within the ducts, among other things.


By the process of elimination, the problem can be narrowed to the culprit, such as a part in the outdoor motor that is not functioning, causing the overcooling of the system and the eventual freeze-over


Why Entek? 


Entek HVAC of Vancouver, Washington is the premier heating and cooling company in their field, and their decades of service tell you something about how they operate: year after year, they have built and maintained a reputation for quality service at a fair price.  Entek’s reputation among their fellow community members is absolutely paramount.  Entek’s success over 50 years is due to the repeat business of people who would put their HVAC system in no other hands.




Entek has trusted HVAC air conditioning service experts serving

Southwest Washington and the Portland area.

Contact Entek  Heating and Cooling company of Vancouver, Washington

if your Air Conditioner freezes


Related Reading:

Playing it Cool: Preparing Your HVAC System for Summer

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