Four Reasons Air Conditioners Freeze Up

Frozen AC Unit

One of the most common questions our AC techs get asked is “Why does my air conditioner freeze up?” Although you may feel like you’re all alone when your air conditioning unit suddenly develops frostbite, it is a typical problem in any household.

Whether it’s a central air conditioning system or a window AC unit, causes of and solutions to freezing up are basically the same. The most important part is getting help for a frozen air conditioner. In addition to cooling problems, continuing to operate while its not working correctly produces severe damage. The unit goes through an involved process of expansion and compression to make cool air in your home and take hot air out. Something is out of balance if the evaporator coil is cooling too much, resulting in icing. It may be the Freon is expanding more than it should be, making the coils colder than usual. Another possibility is that something is keeping your home’s air heat from transferring into the system. The result is the same: the evaporator coil drops below freezing while the ac freezes up.


Here are four of the most common ways to keep an air conditioner from freezing.

1.Run the A/C within certain temperature parameters. Avoid using the air conditioner if it’s less than 62 outside. Otherwise, system pressure will drop, causing the central air unit to freeze.

2.Be sure the refrigerant is at the recommended level. The unit already has lower pressure and if there is less Freon than needed, the air conditioner must work even harder to expand. When the evaporator coil drops below freezing, moisture in the air freezes when it contacts the coil and ices up.

3.Have the unit maintained and serviced according to the manufacturer’s guidelines. It’s no surprise to hear that mechanical failure is a major cause of air conditioner problems, including freezing. A non-working blower fan, clogged filter, or kink in the lines that allow refrigerant to move properly also affect system pressure.

4.Have the ac checked to be sure enough air is blowing across the evaporator coil. The unit drops your home’s temperature by removing heat from the inside air as it blows over the evaporator coil. If the Freon is unable to work properly, it can lead to ice and damage.


An efficient HVAC system keeps homes warm during the winter and cool during the summer. It also helps remove dust and debris from the inside air, adding a healthy environment to your home. Ask your air conditioner technicians about steps you can take to make sure the unit is operating correctly. Never hesitate to call for service if you notice any of the above problems.

FILED UNDER: Air Conditioning

HVAC Maintenance for Spring Allergies Richmond, VA

Spring Allergies


Spring may be in the air in Richmond, VA, but so is pollen and other pollutants. If you suffer from seasonal allergies, you likely have a love-hate relationship with springtime. You can’t escape exterior allergens by staying inside. Research shows your home HVAC system may be blowing 3-5 times more contaminants into your home than outside air contains.

Let’s explore how you and your HVAC technician, working together, can decrease those allergy irritants in your inside air.


Reasons to Schedule HVAC Preventative Maintenance

Annual preventative maintenance, performed by a certified technician, is the most important thing you can do to avoid potential problems and extend the lifespan of your HVAC system. To reduce the risk of indoor allergens, many homeowners prefer scheduling HVAC preventative maintenance at the beginning of spring.

During spring maintenance, your HVAC technician will inspect the entire system, lubricate moving parts, clean coils and blades. If necessary, he will calibrate your thermostat. When repairs or replacement components are necessary, the work can be completed before the sticky summer arrives in Richmond, VA.


Preventative Maintenance Benefits

HVAC maintenance is a savvy investment for Richmond, VA homeowners, which pays off in increased dependability and peak performance of your AC unit.

Of course, one of your major goals is improved air quality when spring allergies are an issue. Dirty AC filters are the main culprit of contaminated air circulation throughout your home. Clean filters trigger healthier indoor airflow. Your HVAC technician will do a routine inspection of the AC filter and clean or replace it when appropriate. He will also clean dirty blowers and/or coils, which considerably decreases pollutants in the indoor air.

On average, the lifespan of your HVAC system is 10-15-years. Adding regular preventative maintenance can extend its life another five years. Since replacing your entire HVAC system is expensive, maintaining the one you have will save you money.


In the Meantime…

Between professional check-ups of your AC unit, you can take measures to maintain it and help decrease the risks of allergens in your Richmond, VA home.

Let’s revisit the subject of dirty air filters. The HVAC filter is your single most line of defense against airborne contaminants. It is a homeowner responsibility to examine the air filter about every six weeks and if dirty, replace the old one with a new AC filter.

Dirty filters are a health hazard for family members who have spring allergies. Other health concerns that can be exacerbated by clogged AC filters are: flu-like bugs, asthma, sore throat, congestion and more.

You do not want mold. To guard against serious build-ups of mold, regularly inspect any visible ductwork and air vents in each room. Be alert for signs of mold.

If you see ductwork that is disconnected or cracked, repair with foil-backed tape, which is designed to stop allergens from getting in and keep conditioned air from getting out and cooling your attic. Condensation creates moisture and mold thrives on moistness. Ensure ductwork in your attic is well insulated, to prevent condensation.

Clean in the vicinity of your indoor unit to keep dust from getting into your HVAC system. Dust and debris in the AC system can block up the condensate drain and cause mold growth.

Dirt, dust and mold can collect inside your ductwork. If your conditioned air smells musty, or you see visible signs of mold around the rim of your air vents, call your HVAC Company for a professional ductwork cleaning.

Scope out the space surrounding your outdoor AC unit. Clear any debris within a two-foot radius of the exterior unit. Pull weeds and trim any shrubbery taller than five feet.


Final Words

In Richmond, VA, spring is the ideal time for professional HVAC preventative maintenance. Certified technicians can significantly reduce symptoms of allergies, by getting rid of allergens, such as pollen, dust mites and dust mites in your HVAC system.

4 Tips to Prevent Damage to Your HVAC System during a Midlothian Rainstorm

View from a Rain Streak Window in a Rainstorm

Residents of Midlothian, Virginia know the torrential downpours that hit the East Coast can do a significant amount of damage to one’s home. And,  unfortunately, your HVAC unit may take the brunt of wind and rain during inclement weather, particularly if left uncovered. Here are a few helpful tips to keep your HVAC system safe and operational the next time a storm rolls through Midlothian.

1. Invest in Protective Covers

Protective Covers are one of the simplest and most inexpensive solution for your storm worries. These covers are available at most home improvement retailers for around $30, and can help to keep your system free of the water and debris that tends to collect during a storm. The options can range from a zip-on cover to a trellis cover; whatever goes best with the aesthetic and level of protection you need.

2. Keep Your Yard Free of Debris

Other than preserving the cleanliness of your yard, regular debris collection is an important part of home maintenance, especially when it comes to protecting the long-term functionality of your outdoor HVAC system. Materials that infiltrate your unit, such as leaves or branches, can become lodged and cause your system to shut down. Even those who regularly maintain their yard forget to check the areas around their HVAC, but it is a simple and essential step that can make a world of difference.

3. Install Your System in an Elevated Location

Depending on where you live in the Midlothian area, and specifically if your home is situated near water, you may be susceptible to flooding that can cause irreparable harm to your HVAC. To assess the average height of floodwaters in your area, contact your city’s building commission or check the county records online. Your Foster Plumbing & Heating technician can also provide more insight into the tools necessary to move your system to higher ground.

4. Install a Sump Pump in Your Basement

In many older homes, the HVAC system resides in the basement – the first place a house begins to flood during heavy rains. If your home’s system is located below, a sump pump is your best bet. A sump pump does exactly as its name suggests: pumps water out of the house and prevents it from pooling in your basement. They activate automatically and can be easily installed with the help of a licensed technician.

If you’re concerned about damage to your HVAC system, it never hurts to contact a professional for an evaluation. If you’re looking to request HVAC service, Foster Plumbing & Heating is here to help. For more information on HVAC repair and maintenance in Midlothian, Virginia, visit our Home Heating & AC Services Page.


This post originally appeared on Gladd HVAC.

These 3 Extreme Videos Show Why You Should Pick Trane for Your Next HVAC Unit in Richmond, Virginia

There’s a reason Foster Plumbing & Heating relies on Trane equipment: they’re true to their slogan.You’ve probably heard,  “It’s Hard to Stop a Trane,” and it’s true. That’s why Foster trusts Trane HVAC products in nearly all its heating and AC system installations in the Richmond area.

Trane puts its units through intense product testing, adhering to some of the most stringent standards in the industry. You can be certain that your HVAC system will stand up to whatever the crazy Virginia weather throws at it for years to come.

Don’t take our word for it. Watch these extreme examples to see just what type of punishment a Trane HVAC unit can withstand.

1. Crushed by a Falling Wall

This Trane unit had parts of an exterior wall collapse on top of it, and it continued running despite being crushed.

2. Running Underwater

After a flood, this Trane HVAC unit still chugged (and splashed) along even though it was almost completely submersed.

3. Hit by a Backhoe

A backhoe plowed into this Trane unit, it still can’t be stopped!

Backed by over 20 years of air conditioning installation experience in the Richmond area, we can confidently recommend Trane heating and air conditioning units to all our customers in Virginia. It really is hard to stop a Trane!

For more information on Trane systems, visit our Products page.


Learning To Recognize Furnace Noises

Your furnace does the important job of keeping your home warm and comfortable during the cold parts of the year. Since you rely on this appliance so heavily, it is a good idea to monitor its operations, especially during the months when it is used the most, and to have a certified HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning) technician perform routine maintenance on your furnace and carry out repairs when necessary.

Like any other appliance, a furnace will occasionally suffer from functional problems, and as its life goes on its age will start to show. One sign of this that you may notice is unusual noises your furnace may make as it operates. Though this can be alarming, it’s not always something to worry about. Recognizing what causes different noises will help you know when your furnace is behaving normally and when it is in need of heating service in Richmond, Virginia.

Furnace Noises To Listen For


A screeching noise can be indicative of a problem with your furnace’s motor or one of the motor’s bearings. Repairs may be necessary.


A high-pitched metallic sound may simply be a minor misalignment of the furnace’s fan motor or blower wheel, or a warped mounting plate. It may be possible to adjust these components yourself, but if you aren’t sure, contact a trained professional.


A rattling noise when the furnace starts up might be caused by a problem with a motor bearing. A rattling noise as the unit shuts down, however, is normal as the metal cools off and probably does not require attention.

Various Metallic Noises

Small, occasional pings or pops are generally just your home’s ducts expanding and contracting as the temperature changes. Louder, booming sounds coming through the ducts more frequently might indicate dirty furnace burners or a faulty gas valve—both issues that should be dealt with by a technician.

Vibrating or Whining

These noises are very irregular and you should contact a professional immediately upon hearing them.

Getting to know the sounds made by your furnace a little better lets you determine when heating service in Richmond, Virginia may be necessary.

A heating system is sometimes part of a larger HVAC system. This equipment is usually incorporated into a home when it is first constructed, or installed and should be maintained by a Richmond-area heating service company employing professional HVAC experts.