My Window Air Conditioner is Freezing; How Do I Fix This Problem?

I grew up as a fourth generation HVAC technician. I learned a lot about the trade.

When I was about 12 years old, my grandfather and one of my four uncles started their own heating and air conditioning business. Two of my other uncles who are then journeymen in the trade worked for other companies. My third and youngest uncle worked for my grandfather.

Well as you know boys of twelve usually idolize there grandfathers and uncles. I was no different. Being twelve I was getting to the age where I needed money for motorcycles and girls. So I asked my grandfather for a job.

I was given a job during my summer vacation. One of the first things grandpa had me do after some training was to repair window air conditioners.

In the mid 80s it was a lot cheaper to take a window air conditioner to be serviced rather than go and spend the big bucks to get a new one.

The problem with this from a service technician’s point of view was that the real money to be made was in: servicing commercial units, or home central air conditioners. Grandpa figured why not have me clean, check, and fix the window air conditioners. Of course, he would always check my work.

One of the most common problems that I would encounter was that the window air conditioner would freeze. The first thing to do when the window air conditioner froze (or would have ice build up on the coils) would be to check the coils. Take off the cover and flush the coils with water. Try the unit again. If it freezes up again check the controls to make sure they are operating properly.

If this doesn’t fix the problem then you are probably low on Freon. To use Freon you need to be certified.

There are two main types of Freon that are common in window air conditioners. These two Freon’s are R22 and 134A. Earlier models of window air conditioners may even have R12 Freon.

They do make kits that can be placed on the copper tubing of the window air conditioner. However like I stated earlier you need to be certified to be able to add Freon. Also the cost of Freon is very expensive. Freon is usually charged by the pound and is fairly expensive. Making it non cost effective to charge a window air conditioner.

If your unit is still freezing up you may be better off just going and getting a new window air conditioner. You can normally find them on sale for between $60 and $200.

To have a unit cleaned, checked, and charged by a certified technician will probably run between $50 and $100 and there are no guarantees. If the unit is low on Freon then it normally means that there is a leak of some sort in the sealed piping unit of the air conditioner. If the leak is not found, and fixed then the Freon will leak out again causing the unit to freeze up again.

The problem with a freezing air conditioner is as I said earlier. It is usually caused by being low on Freon. If the unit is low on Freon you have to be certified to recharge the unit.

To recharge the unit you have to have a set of Freon gauges, a drum of Freon usually a 20 pounded, and common hand tools. Then you need the knowledge of how to read the gauges.

You have to have your federal and state certification also.

Now to read the gauges the amount of Freon to have in the unit has many variables. The temperature outside and the temperature in the room to be cooled.

If the temperature outside is about 80 degrees you want the gauges to read about 72 pounds. You want the Freon to read about 34 degrees on the liquid side.

I am truly sorry that there isn’t anything more the average person can do to fix this problem. Like I said if the unit is still freezing after being cleaned, and the controls are functioning properly it is almost always a sign of low Freon. It is just cheaper to junk this unit and buy a new one.

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