How to fix frozen air conditioning pipes – its a very easy fix anyone can learn to do and you can save hundreds of dollars by fixing this yourself!
Did your air conditioning quit working or is it working much less efficiently? I’m not talking about air conditioning for your car. Car air conditioning usually just leaks out and requires new o-rings at the connection ports on the compressor. I am instead talking about your home air conditioning unit.
Most of us take our home air conditioning units for granted. I myself am usually one of those people even though I am an HVAC technician. I am just too busy fixing other people’s air conditioning units and usually come home tired and ready to collapse in the bed after a full day’s work.
The last thing I want to do is do preventative maintenance on my own air conditioning system. But when you don’t do it and you keep putting it off, that is when something’s going to happen or break. This is what happened to me the other day. On a regular hot day out of the blue my wife called me up and told me that the air conditioner wasn’t working as well as it normally did and it was staying at 78 to 80° in the house.
When I got home and looked at the units on the side of my house the problem was pretty easy to see. there was ice coming off of the installation on one of the units. This tells me immediately that the pipe was frozen and cold air was not flowing like it should’ve been. Then to further indicate this all one has to do is put her hand over the fan where hot air typically blows out. It was only cool air coming out of the one with the ice on the pipes.
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This is an easy fix. What happens over the years is that the insulation goes bad and breaks apart and falls off. This allows moisture to get inside between the insulation and the pipes and ice will form. this eyes who quickly allow the copper pipes to freeze blocking the passage of cold air.
If you have bad insulation you may not see this in colder or lukewarm weather, but on really hot days when the air condition system keeps cycling on off quickly ice will quickly form here and block up the system fast. To remedy or fix this condition first turn off the power to the affected air conditioner. If you only have one unit then that will be easy. Just flick the circuit breaker switch for that unit.
Some houses will have two or more units. Find the right one and turn off the power for the unit with ice on the pipes. Leave it off and the ice will melt way. Then look at the insulation. You will see that it is worn and needs replacing especially in the areas that had ice. you can get replacement installation at your local Home Depot or Lowes home improvement center.
Be sure and buy all weather tape and get plastic wrap to seal out the weather and moisture. Then cut off the bad insulation and insert a new section. Prior to installing the new insulation be sure and dry off all moisture and condensation. Tape up and then seal with the plastic wrap. Be sure and seal several inches up from the new insulation to make an effective moisture barrier.
Now is the time to also look over your air conditioning system. Clean out the outside by spraying with a garden hose. Spray it up and down to remove debris. If you have a dog with long, thick hair like I do, gently use a plastic fork to remove the hair from the coils. it is easier to do this when the system is turned off. When the system is turned on it will have suction from the fan and dirt, hair and other debris will be harder to remove.
Then turn the system back on (flick the circuit breaker switch back on). You should now have ice cold AC. You will also notice that your AC system is working much more efficiently then before. This will cause your electrical bills to drop noticeably while keeping your how much cooler.
By cleaning the coils and replacing the installation on the copper pipes for your air conditioning unit you can easily increase the effectiveness of your air conditioning unit by 25% or more. If you have two units running during the hot summer months this can save you $30-$50 per month or more in your electric bill. Plus it is great insurance against frozen pipes like I just had on one of my units.
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