Q – I was down looking at my a/c unit and I noticed a huge block of ice on it. What is up with that? Does my system have too much Freon?
Do I need a new one?
Carmen in Marietta
A – Actually, this one sounds like a trick question, but I like trick questions…
There are a couple of reasons why your a/c system has frozen over. One of them is, drum roll please, you don't have enough Freon in your system. (Technically Freon is the refrigerant R22 which people commonly call Freon. More on that later – keep reading)
That is correct - a result of not having enough Freon in your system can be your system freezing over. Sounds completely the opposite of what you may think, but it is true.
In a perfect world, there would never be too much or too little Freon in your system. Your system would be installed, the correct amount of Freon would be charged into the system, and you would be good to go until the system went kaput.
If you were to have developed a leak in your Freon line, then each year when you have your a/c inspected you would be told that you were low on Freon and more would be added to your system.
There is no reason to add Freon to a system other than it is leaking out. Re-read that - if you are having Freon replaced into your system you have a leak. Freon does not just go away over time.
Note - Freon leaks sometimes can be very difficult (read that very expensive) to fix mainly because they can be very difficult to find. Often there isn't a joint in the line where the Freon is just leaking out and the hvac guy puts in a new joint and all is well.
A more important note – Freon, as you know it, or R22 is going away. In fact units made since 2010 don’t contain Freon (R22) at all. Refrigerant 410A, which is environmentally safe is the new refrigerant used in air conditioning.
If you have a system older than 2010, and it uses R22 (Freon) you will probably soon need a new system. Freon, or R22 is no longer made. So when your hvac company’s supply runs out, it’s gone. Done. Over. Finished. Through.
And just to make you even happier, R22 and 410A refrigerants are not compatible. I bet you aren't surprised.
Oh yeah – your iceberg. The other most common reason for the ice is air-flow. If you aren't getting proper air-flow through your system (i.e. is your filter is clogged) then freezing can occur. Easy fix there - change your filter.
There you have it. Your best course of action would be to have your a/c system inspected by a professional - (it sounds like it wasn't this year at least) and go from there. Could be an easy fix, could be a leak.
Good to get it fixed though, either way.