Why Does my Air Conditioning Coil Keep Freezing Up?

Your air conditioning unit is a complex series of mechanical parts that is designed to keep you cool during the warm seasons. If the evaporator coil keeps freezing up, though, this indicates that there could be a serious issue. Find out what the coil is, why it freezes up and what you can do to fix it.

What is the Evaporator Coil?

The air conditioning coil, which is called the evaporator coil, is essentially the most important part of your unit. It is comprised of a series of coils made from copper or steel that is covered by fins made of steel or aluminum. As the warm air in your home passes over these coils, the heat is removed from the air and cooler air is filtered into your home via the system. The evaporator coil works directly alongside the condenser; the evaporator coil removes the humidity from the air and the condenser condenses this humidity into water for elimination.

Troubleshooting

As a homeowner, it is likely that you don’t notice a problem with your air conditioning system until it runs continuously or not at all, the air in your home is too warm, or the airflow coming through your vents is significantly reduced. One of the main causes of reduced airflow is a frozen evaporator coil. The coil itself is typically located inside the air handling unit in your home. If air cannot flow through it freely due to a buildup of ice, then the air that is processed by the system lowers in volume and this becomes noticeable as your home gradually gets warmer.

Causes for a Frozen Evaporator Coil

There are two primary things that can cause your evaporator coil to freeze. The first is a lack of airflow across the coil in general. Remember that there is refrigerant flowing through the copper or steel tubing that is designed to remove the humidity from your home. If there is no humidity to remove, or even if airflow is blocked for some reason, ice will begin to develop. Second, your coil can freeze if there is a problem in the refrigeration system itself. Air conditioning units with a low level of refrigerant can freeze, and if this is the case, your unit will need servicing.

Thawing at Home

The good news, though, is that you can generally defrost your evaporator coil at home with a bit of patience. First and foremost, if you notice that your air conditioner is frozen, simply turn it off. Now, you won’t want to defrost it too quickly because it could overload the condensate drain and cause water damage. In order to defrost it slowly, go to your thermostat and move the fan switch from ‘Auto’ to ‘On’. This will force the warmer air in your home over the ice to defrost it. You should never be tempted to use a blow dryer or a heating pad as this will cause the ice to melt far too quickly.

If these steps resolve your air conditioning issue, then you can turn the unit back on and allow it to run as normal. However, you should call in a trusted A/C company to do an annual maintenance on the system and check to see what is causing the problem.

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How Energy Efficient Is Your Home?

The average person spends $3,460 on energy every year, and as much as half of that energy is used to heat and cool our homes. From heat pumps to air conditioners to furnaces, these tips will make your home’s heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) systems more efficient, not to mention helping you save on your utility bills. You can start the following tips today. Are you ready? It’s time to start saving energy.

Install a Modern Heat Pump

Heat pumps warm and cool your home, and are an energy-efficient alternative to furnaces and air conditioners. Your location and climate will determine the type of pump most appropriate for your home. The types of heat pumps include air-to-air, water source and geothermal. They collect heat from the air, water or ground outside your home and move it inside. They can also act as an air conditioner by collecting heat from inside your house and pumping it outside. Heat pumps can cost as little as one-quarter of the price of other heating and cooling appliances. Tip: Install a programmable thermostat suitable for heat pumps with multistage functions.

Seal Your Air Ducts

Air that leaks out of your home through windows, doors and the outer walls is a waste of energy, not to mention your money. In the average home, there is enough air leakage to add up to a 2-foot square hole—that’s equivalent to leaving a medium-sized window open all day long. Sealing and insulating the ducts that move air to and from furnaces, air conditioners or heat pumps will improve the efficiency of your heating and cooling system. Start with the ducts that run through the attic, basement, garage or any crawl space. Tip: Dirty spots on your ceiling paint or carpet could signify air leaks.

Add Insulation

After sealing the ducts, wrap them in insulation to keep them from getting too hot or cold. From there, you can seal the rest of the ducts throughout the other parts of the house. You may also want to look into adding insulation if your attic is drafty, the basement has a cold floor or you’ve noticed an increase in heating or cooling bills. Try blown-in foam insulation, as it is more cost-effective and results in minimal structural intrusion. Tip: Install door sweeps at the bottom of your front and back doors to keep heat from escaping.

Monitor Your Hot Water Heater

Your water heater could be costing you up to 18% of your current utility bill. Insulate your water heater or choose an on-demand hot water heater to save money and energy. Other ways you can cut down on your water heating bills include turning down the thermostat on your water heater or simply using less hot water. Tip: Every 3 months, drain a quart of water from the heater to remove sediment that could interfere with heat transfer and lower the efficiency of the heater.

More Energy Tips

Check your air filter every month. A dirty air filter wastes energy by slowing down air flow, making the system work even harder to keep you warm or cool. Does your house need some help during the sweltering summer months? Plant a tree, as this will not only add a little something extra to your landscaping, but it will also provide shade for your home on hot days. On those cold winter days, pull back your curtains to let the sun in.

These tips are a do-it-yourself energy assessment that takes into consideration your whole house. By using a heat pump, checking ducts and insulation as well as doing simple things like planting a tree or changing air filters, you will save energy and money. Pretty soon you’ll see that the time and effort you took in saving energy will pay off.

Call us today to see how we can help you save money by making your home more energy efficient!

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Why SEER Ratings are Important When Buying a New AC System

There are many factors involved in selecting your new heating/cooling system, including price, size, capacity, and efficiency. One number you will always see when you look at various AC systems is its SEER Ratings. This rating system is an important aspect that will help you choose the right AC system for your home and your budget. It provides an easy way to determine the efficiency of a system, while also giving you a way to compare it with similar products.

What is a SEER Rating?

SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, with the standards developed by the Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute. It is the cooling output divided by the total electricity used to cool the air. The higher the ratio, the more energy efficient your heating/cooling system is. The units used in the ratio are British thermal unit (BTU), which measures the cooling, and watt-hours, which measure the energy consumed. The difference between the SEER and EER (energy efficiency ratio) is that the SEER focuses on an entire season while the EER focuses on one specific condition for operation. The federal minimum SEER is 13, so you will always be looking for numbers higher than that.

Higher SEER Ratings Save you Money

If you look at the SEER ratings when you compare AC systems, you can save money, especially in the long run, even if it means paying more for a system up front. The higher the SEER, the more energy efficient the system will be. This means your monthly utility costs will be lower, saving you money every month. Depending on how efficient your current system is, you may even pay off the cost of your system in savings over time. Additionally, some utility companies offer compensation or rebates for using high energy efficient systems. You may have to inquire whether your energy supplier offers anything like this.

Assists in Assessing Annual Operating Costs

Another important feature you have to consider when you buying your cooling/heating system is how much it will cost you to operate over the course of a year. With the SEER rating, you can easily see how much watts of energy on average the system will take to run. You can multiply the average watts used by the hours you normally run your system and your electric rate. That total number will be the cost it will take annually to run your system, which will give you another baseline to compare units when you are shopping.

The SEER ratings offer you a quick insight into how efficient a unit runs. Not only will a more efficient system save you money, it will also run better in more extreme conditions. If you find a baseline SEER rating that you want for your system, it will help you further narrow down and compare before buying your final product. Additionally, if you choose a system with a higher SEER, then your system will be more environmentally friendly.

If you have any questions, please give us a call. We’re here to answer all your air conditioning replacement questions.

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New Technologies Advancing HVAC Efficiency

Heating, ventilation and air conditioning is often responsible for up to 50% of a home or business energy bill. More and more businesses and consumers are looking to find more energy efficient HVAC systems for their homes and buildings that will assist with lowering energy costs and carbon footprints. The HVAC industry has listened and as a result, developed a range of new technologies that enhance efficiency levels of many new units.

Zoning Systems

One new technology making air conditioning and heating units more efficient are zoning systems. With these systems, you place a zone unit, which include dampers similar to a fireplace, in your ducts and vents. There are sensors and thermometers in the different zones. The dampers are opened and closed as necessary, and you only heat or cool the area of your home or office that needs it. The system is able to work more efficiently, and you save money on your energy costs because you are only heating or cooling the areas that are being used. With some units, you can even have different temperatures in different sections of your house or business.

Automated Systems

There are several types of automated systems that are making HVAC units more efficient. You can purchase programmable thermostats that keep a room a certain temperature at particular times of the day. If you are away from home during the day, you can have the thermostat set at a certain temperature and program it to heat or cool just before you get home. For offices, you can have it set on a higher setting over the weekend when no one is in the building. Newer versions can even sense when you are not at home and can adapt to the outside temperature, humidity, and more. Many of these systems are even programmable from your smartphone, laptop or tablet.
Read more…

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