Everything You Wanted to Know About AIR CONDITIONER and Were Afraid To Ask
One of the very most frustrating problems with a window air conditioner is if it starts to ice up. For who owns the air conditioner is could be perplexing.
When this problem occurs a lot of people immediately think it is the fault of the refrigerant gas. More often the cause is the consequence of other difficulties.
It is most often the consequence of poor airflow.
Any time the airflow through an air conditioner is fixed the coolant system becomes affected. If taken up to extremes the critical pressure-temperature balance of the cooling coil could be changed. Should they drop too low the cooling coils surface temperature can drop below the dew point temperature of the room. When this happens the cooling coil will begin to operate as a refrigerator rather than an air conditioner. Instead of simply cooling the air it’ll collect and hold moisture. The moisture will freeze onto the cooling coil where it will appear as ice.
The primary job of an air conditioning equipment is to de-humidify, not refrigerate, the area air. By detatching the moisture from the room air it gives us a feeling of comfort. To get this done though the temperature of the cooling coil should always be higher than the room’s dew point. If it is allowed to drop below the dew point the air conditioning equipment will start to produce ice.
With this information in mind the following are a few problems that can result in your air conditioning equipment icing up:
1. Dirty filter.
In order to avoid this replace or clean your filter every couple of weeks of the cooling season. If a smoker do it every week. To completely clean filter remove from air conditioner, wet thoroughly, and lay in bottom of a sink. Sprinkle detergent (laundry detergent is effective) onto filter surface. Allow to sit for a couple of minutes. Add tepid to warm water to sink so that filter is totally covered. Soak for a quarter-hour. Remove from water and rinse. Allow to air dry.
2. Dirty or blocked cooling coil.
An air conditioning equipment requires regular maintenance. Usually every several years. Every year will be best, but this can be costly unless you do it yourself. During cleaning the cooling coil should be degreased and washed to eliminate accumulated dirt and debris. Degreasing is essential to eliminate any coatings on the coil. If not done greasy residue can trap and hold air borne particles. They will build up on the coil and affect heat transfer. If left too much time this can result in the cooling coil becoming partially blocked. This can produce a lower airflow.
3. Dirty or blocked condenser coil.
The condenser coil is the one at the rear of the air conditioner. Its job would be to dissipate the heat that is being removed from the area. Just like the cooling coil it too should be cleaned every few years. Because the condenser is externally of the house it becomes exposed to many dirt, pollen, and smog. Since airflow direction is from inside to outside it is the inside surface of the condenser that becomes dirty. Therefore to completely clean this part the air conditioning equipment must be completely disassembled. If not cleaned regularly an airflow blockage here can even burn out the compressor. Before this happens although lowering of airflow will affect the entire operation. This can result in the compressor efficiency dropping, the internal pressure-temperature relationships being affected, and the resultant production of ice on the cooling coil.
4. Inefficient compressor.
As describe above an inefficient compressor can cause icing up. If the compressor is not able to pump the refrigerant properly the cooing coil might not get cold enough to shut down the cold control. It could hover just above the take off point. When this happens the cooling coil will begin to refrigerate. Ice on the cooling coil will result. If the compressor itself is at fault the air conditioner should be replaced. But remember that many icing problems are misdiagnosed as bad compressors if they were actually one of the other faults discussed in the following paragraphs.
5. Not enough refrigerant. An excessive amount of refrigerant.
Both scenarios can result in and icing condition. If your air conditioning equipment was repaired recently suspect too much refrigerant. Blended with an airflow problem this could be difficult to diagnose. If not repaired recently then suspect airflow problems before considering a refrigerant imbalance.
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Icing can occur if the exterior temperature falls below 60 Degrees Fahrenheit. If the outside temperature is too low the air conditioner pressure-temperatures can be affected. When the outside temperature falls the cooling coil temperature may also fall. So much that the coil will refrigerate the room air. This will bring about the cooling coil starting to produce ice. This issue is more prevalent in the fall. If it is hot throughout the day but cold during the night suspect this problem as the reason behind icing up. If this issue is suspected try running the air conditioner in the fan only position. Leave the re-circulating vent open. This can circulate the room air without cooling it, while attracting handful of outside air at night time.