It’s that time of year again—winter is here, and your HVAC system needs to be winterized.
Frozen HVAC systems are a common problem in colder climates, and they can cause severe damage if left unchecked.
Air conditioners, heaters, and other HVAC equipment can freeze in the winter. This is a problem that occurs in US homes, and it’s important to know the facts. According to recent surveys, the average homeowner spends $300 on yearly heating and cooling repairs. These expenses can really add up if you’re not careful.
And according to the Department of Energy, frozen HVAC systems are responsible for about $4 billion in property damage per year.
The problem is most common in coastal areas like Virginia and New Jersey, where temperatures tend to be colder than average. However, it can also occur inland during extended periods of cold weather. In either case, it’s important to know what you’re dealing with before you attempt any repairs on your own—or call in an HVAC professional.
If you haven’t yet taken care of this important task, don’t panic!
In this article, we’ll explain everything you need to know about Frozen HVAC and tips to winterize your HVAC.
What is Frozen HVAC?
Frozen HVAC is a term used to describe how the air conditioning system in your home or business can freeze. The problem occurs when the outdoor temperature drops below freezing. When this happens, the refrigerant in your system will turn into a liquid, which means it can’t circulate through the system. This causes your air conditioner to stop functioning.
Frozen HVAC happens most often during the winter months and is more common in areas that experience cold temperatures during those months. It’s also more likely to happen in older systems that haven’t been appropriately maintained or have been installed improperly in new homes.
How to tell if the HVAC is frozen?
Your HVAC is a critical part of your home’s comfort, which is why it’s important to be able to identify signs that indicate your HVAC is frozen. If you’re not sure what the signs are and how to handle them, don’t panic! We have everything you need right here.
Here are some common indicators to look out for in frozen HVAC:
If your home feels colder than usual or your heating and cooling system isn’t working as well as usual, this could be a sign that something is wrong with your HVAC.
Insufficient cooling or heating.
If you’re not feeling like your home is getting the right amount of heat or coolness from your HVAC system, this may be an indication that there’s something wrong with it.
Ice or frost on components.
Take a look at your HVAC system’s components, particularly the evaporator coil and refrigerant lines. If you see visible ice or frost accumulation on these parts, it is a clear indication that your system is frozen.
As the ice on the evaporator coil begins to melt, it can result in water leakage from the HVAC system. You may notice water pooling around the indoor unit or even dripping from the vents.
A frozen HVAC system may produce unusual sounds like hissing, bubbling, or gurgling noises. These noises could be caused by the refrigerant flowing irregularly or boiling due to the ice buildup.
How can I tell if HVAC coils are frozen?
If you’re noticing that your HVAC system isn’t working as well as it should be, it’s possible that the coils in your system are frozen.
Wondering, “Where to look to see if coils are frozen on HVAC?”
Don’t worry. You can check if your HVAC coils are frozen by following these steps:
Set the thermostat to the “off” position.
This will prevent the HVAC system from running while you inspect the coils.
Locate the air handler unit.
The air handler unit is typically located indoors, in a basement, attic, closet, or utility room. It houses the evaporator coil, which is a coil that is prone to freezing.
Remove the access panel.
Depending on your HVAC system, you may need to remove a panel or cover to access the coils. Refer to the manufacturer’s instructions or consult an HVAC professional in Hurricane, WV, if you’re unsure how to remove the access panel from the HVAC frozen coil safely.
Inspect the coils.
Once you have access to the coils, visually inspect them. Look for any signs of ice or frost accumulation on the coils themselves or the surrounding components. The presence of ice is a clear indication that the coils are frozen.
Check for water leakage.
HVAC coils frozen tend to melt as the system is turned off, resulting in water leakage. Look for any signs of water pooling or dripping around the coils or the air handler unit.
Feel the coils.
If you can safely touch the coils, use your hand to feel their temperature. If they are extremely cold or have a layer of ice, it indicates that they are frozen.
What happens if I run the HVAC is frozen?
When you think about running your HVAC system in the winter, do you think about the consequences? If your answer is no, then you should consider a few things.
Running a frozen HVAC system can lead to serious problems. Here are five of the most common consequences that may occur if you run your HVAC system when it’s frozen:
Reduced cooling or heating capacity.
When the HVAC coils are frozen, the airflow becomes restricted, hindering the system’s ability to cool or heat the space effectively. As a result, you may experience inadequate temperature control and discomfort in your environment.
Increased energy consumption.
When you run your HVAC system with a frozen coil, it will consume more energy than it would if it was not frozen because of the increased effort needed for the compressor to push air through the partially blocked coils. This can result in higher utility bills and less efficiency overall!
Potential compressor damage.
If your AC is running while it’s cold outside, there’s a good chance that some components will get strained or even damaged by the cold. The fan motor might be strained by having to run against a lot of resistance from the outside air. This can cause overheating or even permanent damage to the motor.
The strain on components.
When your HVAC system is running, its components are being put under stress. The more stress they experience, the more likely they are to break down or fail. If your system is frozen, it will have to work even harder to get the job done, which means it’s more likely to overheat and cause damage.
As the ice on the coils begins to melt, it can result in water leakage from the HVAC system. This water can cause damage to surrounding components, such as electrical connections or the air handler unit. It may also lead to moisture-related issues, including mold growth if not properly addressed.
How long does it take frozen HVAC to defrost?
It depends on the temperature and how much moisture is in the air.
If it’s below freezing, your HVAC system could take as long as an hour to defrost. If it’s above freezing but still cool outside, defrosting your HVAC system could take up to 20 minutes.
A newer system will be able to get through a thawing cycle faster than an older one, so if you just bought some new equipment, it should take less time. A smaller house will also be easier to defrost than a large mansion.
To defrost a frozen HVAC system, it is recommended to follow these steps:
Turn off the system
Switch off the HVAC system at the thermostat to prevent it from running while it is frozen.
Make sure that all vents are open and unobstructed to promote better airflow. This can help expedite the defrosting process.
Use gentle heat
You can use gentle heat to aid in the defrosting process. Place a fan near the frozen coils to help circulate warm air around them. Do not use excessive heat sources like hairdryers, as they can cause damage to the system.
Check for water leakage
As the coils defrost, water may start to drip. Ensure that appropriate drainage mechanisms are in place to collect and channel the water away from the system.
Monitor the system
Keep an eye on the coils to see if the ice is melting. This process may take several hours or more, depending on the severity of the freezing.
How to Winterize and Prepare Your HVAC for Winter?
This section is for you if you want to avoid frozen HVAC systems and expensive frozen HVAC repair costs.
Winter is coming.
That time of year when you have to turn on your heater and turn up the thermostat in the house. That time of year is when you are bundled up under a thick blanket, wrapped in your warmest clothes, and watching the snow fall outside your window. Winter is also known for being something that can be harsh on your heating system—which is why it’s so important to winterize and prepare your HVAC for winter!
You don’t want your HVAC system to be the weak link in your home’s preparation for the winter months. So, here are 10 tips on how to winterize and prepare your HVAC for the coldest days of the year:
Clean Or Replace Air Filters.
You should change your air filter every 30 days or so, but during the winter months, it’s a good idea to clean or replace the filter every month. If there is a lot of dust in your home, this could cause problems with your heating and cooling system.
Inspect And Seal Ductwork.
When cold weather settles in, you need to make sure that your ductwork is sealed properly to avoid any leaks or drafts. This can be done by checking for holes or gaps in the ductwork with a flashlight.
Clear the Outdoor Unit.
If you live in an area that gets snow or ice in the winter, then you know how important it is to keep your outdoor unit clear of debris. If leaves or other debris block the vents, they could cause moisture buildup inside your home, leading to mold growth and other issues. So make sure you keep an eye on what might be blocking any openings on your unit so that air can flow freely through it during cold weather months!
Schedule Professional Maintenance.
It’s also important to schedule regular maintenance checks with a professional HVAC service company in Hurricane, WV, every year so they can check for leaks in both indoor and outdoor units; this will help keep everything running in a smooth manner throughout the winter seasons without any problems cropping up unexpectedly!
Check Your Thermostat Settings.
Another thing you should do is check the settings on your thermostat. If you have one that’s not programmable, ensure it’s set to a temperature that will allow the heater to run efficiently while keeping your home warm enough. You might want to consider turning off any unnecessary systems like dehumidifiers or humidifiers as well—they add more moisture to the air. They can make things less comfortable for both you and your equipment.
Clean Your Vents.
While you’re checking the thermostats, don’t forget to clean your vents! This will ensure that debris does not block airflow through the system during cold months when you need it most. You can use a soft brush attachment on an air compressor or vacuum cleaner to remove any accumulated dust or dirt from inside vents.
Insulate Exposed Pipes.
This is the essential step in preparing your HVAC system for winter. Make sure you have insulated all exposed pipes so they don’t freeze over the next few months. If you’re unsure what’s exposed and what isn’t, try checking out a few different rooms in your home to see which ones are coldest. That will give you an idea of where to look next!
Test the System.
Once your pipes are covered up and insulated properly, it’s time to test out your whole system before putting it into hibernation for the winter months ahead. Make sure everything works as intended before putting it away for another year! You don’t want any surprises when you come back out again next springtime (or summertime, depending on where you live).
Consider a Programmable Thermostat.
A programmable thermostat allows you to set temperatures for different times of day, so you can keep the house warm when you’re away but not waste energy heating up empty rooms when no one is home.
Prepare Backup Heating Sources.
If the power goes out or your HVAC system breaks down, it’s important to have backup heating sources. You may want to consider installing an emergency generator or buying some wood for your fireplace in advance of winter so that you’ll be prepared if something happens while the weather outside is frightful!
Call Best Virginia Heating and Cooling for HVAC Needs in Hurricane, WV!
When the weather gets cold, you need to make sure your HVAC system is running at peak performance. It’s not only more comfortable for you, but it also helps to keep your home safe from damage.
If you’re in the Hurricane, WV area and have been experiencing any issues with your HVAC system, we can help! Best Virginia Heating and Cooling is your local expert on HVAC Maintenance and Services in Hurricane WV, and we can diagnose issues with your system and fix them right away without costing you a fortune.
We offer our residential and commercial clients the best Virginia heating and cooling services, including:
– Air conditioning installation and repair
– Furnace Repair
– Furnace replacement
– Duct cleaning (or duct repair, if needed)
– Air handler repair
– Heat pump installation
– Air purification systems
– Air quality testing
– Air filtration repair and replacement
– Dehumidifier installation
– Annual HVAC service agreements
– And many more…
We are fully licensed and insured, so you don’t have to worry about a thing! Our team of HVAC technicians will be able to identify any problems as soon as they walk into your home. They’ll take care of everything—from checking the air filters to making sure there isn’t anything blocking the airflow. You can count on us to treat you with respect, provide honest information about what needs to be done, and ensure we do everything we can to ensure your HVAC works well again.
We also offer 24/7 emergency service, so you don’t have to worry about being stuck without heat or air conditioning when it matters most. And if there is an emergency situation that requires immediate action, our technicians are available for on-call service as well.
If you’ve been having trouble keeping your family warm or cool during these cold winter months, then call us today at (681) 655-1214!