5 Reasons Your Air Conditioner Looks Like Frosty The Snowman

When you and your family notices a slow decrease in the amount of cool air coming out of the registers, it's smart to check out the air conditioner unit to see what's going on. Many homeowners are shocked to find their A/C is covered in frost--they expect that a frosty unit would produce more cold air than ever! However, this condition reduces the amount of air moving through your equipment and needs immediate attention to discover which of these five common causes is behind the problem.

Duct Troubles

Anything that greatly limits the air moving through the cooling system contributes to the frost problem. Leaky or collapsed ducts prevent air from reaching the evaporator coil, causing it to get too cold and freeze over. Checking through the duct work often reveals disconnected sections letting air escape into your attic or crawl space.

Missing Freon

Freon is the refrigerant gas filling the evaporator coil in your air conditioner. When a leak allows this gas to silently escape, you end up with an A/C unit that works overtime to cool the air. This causes frost to accumulate on the coil and return lines from the compressor.

Don't try to add freon to your A/C on your own. These pressurized systems need exact levels of gas, so adding too much can break the entire compressor and lead to more costly repairs. An experienced heating and cooling technician will also find the original leak that lowered your levels so you don't need another refill every few months.

Clogged Air Filters

When you forget to change your air filters on a regular basis, you can reduce the air flow in the system dramatically as the dust and debris builds up. Before checking the ducts or worrying about freon levels, take a moment to look at the filters in your A/C system. Most residential systems need filter changes every three months while the air conditioner is in use.

Sticking in a brand new air filter could exacerbate your frost problem if you pick the wrong one. You might think a thicker air filter equals better dust management, but a model that is too thick will block air flow as much as a clogged filter. Check your owner's manual for the A/C unit in question to find out the maximum thickness recommended for your equipment to make sure you don't accidentally make the issue worse while trying to fix it.

Stuck Valves

Sometimes the A/C system holds plenty of freon gas, but it isn't flowing through the unit properly anymore. This is usually due to a thermocouple expansion valve stuck shut. The valve is supposed to open when the air conditioner needs more refrigerant, so you can end up with a frost covered condenser coil while your system still contains plenty of freon.

It's impossible for the average homeowner to decide if the A/C is low on freon or simply isn't cycling it properly. Make an appointment with a technician when you suspect a gas problem is behind your frost accumulation. The repair specialist from places like http://www.perryheatingandcooling.com can test the gas level and valves all at once to figure out what to fix.

Blower Woes

The blower is the fan responsible for sending that chilled air to the rooms in the house. A broken blower lets the cold air stay in the unit, dropping the temperature and freezing the lines. You may just need a simple overheating switch flipped in the outdoor unit to get the blower working again.

Even if there's only a thin layer of frost inside your air conditioner, you're spending more on electricity because your A/C is working harder than ever to produce cold air. Keep an eye on the condenser coils throughout the season to make sure your system is running at peak efficiency.