Air-Conditioner Freezing Up

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airconditioner freezing up

Lois -- Thursday, 25 July 2002, at 1:54 p.m.

i just brought a new whirlpool 10,000 btu airconditioner and on the hottest day, it froze. it was actually frozen on the coils. do i need to take it back?

Re: airconditioner freezing up

Dan O. -- Thursday, 25 July 2002, at 9:19 p.m.

: i just brought a new whirlpool 10,000 btu
: air conditioner and on the hottest day, it
: froze. it was actually frozen on the coils.
: do i need to take it back?

Did you run it during the night, maybe when it was cooler and didn't notice its condition until the next day?

Was the evaporator (cooling) coil "frosted" or "iced"? (it is an important distinction)

Where they totally covered or only partially?

Once we have more information, we'll try to suggest a course of action.

Dan O.

Re: airconditioner freezing up

Margo -- Tuesday, 30 July 2002, at 9:56 p.m.

: Did you run it during the night, maybe when it
: was cooler and didn't notice its condition
: until the next day?

: Was the evaporator (cooling) coil
: "frosted" or "iced"?

: Where they totally covered or only partially?

: Once we have more information, we'll try to
: suggest a course of action.

: Dan O.

I'm so glad I found this question! Our Gibson 12,000 BTU window unit's evaporation coils COMPLETELY ices over. We ran it just fine for 36-40 hours before the ice started to form the first time. After it defrosted, it begins to ice again immediately. Help! It's nearly 9pm here and still in the 80's. I'm sweating! Margo

Re: airconditioner freezing up

Dan O. -- Tuesday, 30 July 2002, at 10:58 p.m.

: I'm so glad I found this question! Our Gibson
: 12,000 BTU window unit's evaporation coils
: COMPLETELY ices over. We ran it just fine
: for 36-40 hours before the ice started to
: form the first time. After it defrosted, it
: begins to ice again immediately. Help! It's
: nearly 9pm here and still in the 80's. I'm
: sweating! Margo

If the evaporator coil is completely frosting, it is either caused by the temperature being too cold (below 65F inside OR out) or poor air flow through the unit.

Evaporator coils are usually 2-4" thick, maybe only the visible area was defrosted and there is still a blockage behind? Or possibly the fan is not working properly or there is something forcing the cold air right back into the unit again?

Dan O.

Re: airconditioner freezing up

Margo -- Wednesday, 31 July 2002, at 8:29 a.m.

: If the evaporator coil is completely frosting,
: it is either caused by the temperature being
: too cold (below 65F inside OR out) or
: poor air flow through the unit.

: Evaporator coils are usually 2-4" thick,
: maybe only the visible area was defrosted
: and there is still a blockage behind? Or
: possibly the fan is not working properly or
: there is something forcing the cold air
: right back into the unit again?

: Dan O.

Okay, what would be forcing the cold air back into the unit? The icing on the coils, thick and white, is still there. We've tried everything we can think of: tilted the unit for better drainage; unplugged everything from the receptacle so the unit is the only thing plugged in; turned the air sweeper on to move the air around instead of just forward; turned the fan on high and the temp to 7 instead of 8/9; turned the temp to 9. The fan is running and air is coming from the vents but the ice is blocking the air from entering the coils. This unit is only a few years old and run in the summer months. It shouldn't be low on coolant, should it?

Re: airconditioner freezing up

Dan O. -- Wednesday, 31 July 2002, at 1:14 p.m.

: Okay, what would be forcing the cold air back
: into the unit?

Curtains, a cabinet or other furniture in the way, running the unit without the front grill installed.

: The icing on the coils, thick
: and white, is still there.

"Ice" is usually clear, "frost" is a white snow-like substance. The distinction is important.

: We've tried
: everything we can think of: tilted the unit
: for better drainage;

That will not effect operation of the unit, only moisture drainage.

: unplugged everything
: from the receptacle so the unit is the only
: thing plugged in;

That's a good idea but as long as the compressor is running, it will not effect operation of the unit.

: turned the air sweeper on
: to move the air around instead of just
: forward; turned the fan on high and the temp
: to 7 instead of 8/9; turned the temp to 9.
: The fan is running and air is coming from
: the vents but the ice is blocking the air
: from entering the coils. This unit is only a
: few years old and run in the summer months.
: It shouldn't be low on coolant, should it?

No, if it were short of refrigerant, only part of the evaporator coil would frost.

If it is frosting totally, either the air temperature (inside or outside) is too cold or it is an air flow problem. Maybe the motor is not turning fast enough, the fan is slipping on the motor's shaft, the filter is completely plugged or one of the air flow problems mentioned above.

I have heard that on a perfectly functioning window air conditioner that was frosting completely even in high ambient temperatures, it was speculated that the condensation which was forming on the evaporator coil (which is normal) was causing an air flow problem itself. Some newer more energy efficient models have a very dense evaporator coil which could possibly get restricted by moisture on very humid days. Turning the A/C thermostat down might help the unit to cycle a bit more often to allow the excess moisture to drain away before causing such an air restriction.

Dan O.

Re: airconditioner freezing up

Margo -- Wednesday, 31 July 2002, at 7:57 p.m.

We pulled the unit out of its casing to let it thaw and noticed a bigger problem, I think. The compressor, wrapped inside some type of insulation, is two seperate 'thingy's'(whatever!) Anyway, the other one, not the compressor, is iced over. The whole thing and the line to the bottom of the unit. Pray tell, what does THIS mean?

Re: airconditioner freezing up

Dan O. -- Wednesday, 31 July 2002, at 9:40 p.m.

: We pulled the unit out of its casing to let it
: thaw and noticed a bigger problem, I think.
: The compressor, wrapped inside some type of
: insulation, is two seperate thingy's'(whatever!)
: Anyway, the other one,
: not the compressor, is iced over. The whole
: thing and the line to the bottom of the
: unit. Pray tell, what does THIS mean?

This means that running the unit in the frosted condition allowed it to continue to frost right back to or almost to the compressor. If allowed to operate in that condition for long, it could damage the compressor ($$$+). If not, it should be Ok once the whole unit is totally defrosted.

Dan O.


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