Frozen In The Summer: How Too Much Cool Can Make Your Home Hot

Posted on: 6 July 2015

Air conditioning systems are a critical part of modern living, for better or for worse. People have become dependent on being cool on demand and may not be able to deal with a hot household for too long. Unfortunately, the desperate desire to get cool as quickly as possible can lead some people to damage their air conditioning systems by turning the temperature down too low during hot, humid days. To understand the problems this behavior creates, read on. 

Air Conditioners Can Freeze During The Summer

Air conditioners work by creating a cool liquid vapor that flows out of the system and cools the air around it. Whether you're using a window-mounted unit or central air that distributes through the rest of the home, evaporative cooling is in use.

The cooling component can work against you during certain circumstances. The condenser is designed to maintain a cold temperature with certain types of refrigerant that won't freeze under the air conditioner's temperatures. Unfortunately, if the air conditioner is turned down to a low enough temperature for a long period of time, water from the air can begin to collect and freeze.

A combination of humid weather, hot outside temperatures and a cold air conditioning unit can create a continuing pool of condensation that seeps into other air conditioning components, eventually leading to a freeze that can damage some parts.

The motor that turns the air conditioner and some of the paths used for air and liquid passage can become blocked by ice, leading to burnouts if the fan motor can't turn and ruptures if tubes are blocked.

Troubleshooting Iced Air Conditioners

The reason for turning the air conditioning too low can vary from person to person. Maybe you need a room to be as cold as possible to protect electronics, but you lack the equipment to keep humidity away from the air conditioning unit. Maybe you were so desperate to get cool that you dragged the temperature as far down as it could go. Either way, having the air conditioning at its lowest settings for a long period of time could mean hotter days if the unit breaks down because of ice.

The first thing to attempt is to turn the air conditioning off. Don't risk burning out the motor or other components. Ice and other liquids aren't likely to get into any electrical components, since they're designed to be used during rainy days at well, so your main issue is trying to use moving parts that are frozen.

If the components haven't already broken, the ice can melt away in the hot weather and you can use the air conditioning system again. If it doesn't work after that, be sure to contact an air conditioning professional. There may be specific parts that need to be replaced or safety mechanisms that need to be reset. Ask an air conditioning professional for advice as soon as possible to get cool quickly and hopefully dodge a full replacement.