Question about Ruud UAMB Air Conditioner

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I have a Ruud Achiever High Efficiency heat pump manufactured in 02-2002 model # UAMB 024JAZ 60 Hertz that the coils in the air handler inside the house freeze and won't cool the house. Our environment is South Florida and is humid. We set it on 74 and it constantly ran yesterday and never cooled below 76 when we discovered this problem. How do we prevent/fix this from happening again? Thanks in advance for any help you can give us.

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  • 6 more comments 
  • smokentote Dec 17, 2009

    I'm back!! We have used a spray cleaner on the indoor A coils and lightly sprayed water to rinse the coils and allowed them to dry before restarting the system and it has helped; however we are continuing to have the unit freeze up, just not as fast. We put in a new filter, etc. We purchased spray for the outside coils, but have not used it yet. We have only lived in the house since May so this is our first experience with this unit.
    If the A coil is leaking gas, would this cause this problem? The freezing starts at the bottom of the A coils and moves up. Would it help to increase the size of the air return or do you think we have a leak somewhere?

  • smokentote Dec 17, 2009

    The fins look very clean and I can see thru them now. On the outside unit when I feel the air coming out of the unit that is freezing, the air is much cooler than the air coming out of the unit that is operating properly(it is warm air. We will check the air ducts and the supply air ducts and let you know what we find.
    Thanks so much for your help!

  • smokentote Dec 18, 2009

    Sorry for the confusion. We have two units for the house. Two different thermostats one in the back of the house which is working great and one for the front which is freezing up. The one that is freezing up is the one that had the cooler air coming out of it on the equipment outside. The one that is working correctly had warm erair coming out of it outside (don't know if this matters or not). We checked the attic for leaks and such. The plenums (sp?) are very old and have been taped up to stop leaks. The duct work is old, but OK. All the vents in the house are open & all interior doors are open to the whole house if that matters. Both thermostats are set on A/C at 75 degrees. Thanks!

  • smokentote Dec 18, 2009

    We have no history at all. We bought the house in May 2009. It says on the outside unit manuf 2002. We just turned on the heat to see if it works and so far it does.

    About the fan speed, when we turn it on it seems to run like any normal a/c unit like we have in Raleigh, NC so I don't know about correct speed or not. Seems OK.
    We are lost when you speak about expansion valve bulbs, and suction lines.
    I would be happy to place a call to you if that is allowed. I have verizon cell service here or you could call us. Let me know if that would be OK or not.
    Thanks, Craig & Kathy

  • smokentote Dec 18, 2009

    Yes, we are able to see it freeze on the coil. it starts at the bottom of the A coil and goes up evenly all across the coil and takes a while for it to completely build up into solid ice. It freezes, melts, freezes, melts and then the freezing takes over with no melting until we turn it off and then the chunks of ice begin to fall into the cold air return area.

    The fan draws air through the coil

  • smokentote Dec 20, 2009

    Just wanted to make sure you received the answers I sent to the last set of questions on the 18th and to see if they made any sense to you?? Thanks!

  • smokentote Dec 22, 2009

    I need to clarify something. Our indoor units are on the first floor inside two closets. One in the front of the house (kitchen area) and the other in a front bedroom closet) with the duct work & plenums (unless I'm using the wrong term here)are in the attic. Our air returns are on the wall on the other side of where the units are located close to the floor. We removed the grates that covers the air returns where you put the filters and looked up into the air return where we could see the coils. The indoor unit that is in the back of the house is working fine. The indoor unit in the front of the house is the one that we can see the coils freeze when we removed the grate and stuck our heads inside with a flashlight to see why it wasn't working properly and could see the freezing/ice forming. When that happens it doesn't stop running, so we turn it off to let it thaw out and subsequently ice starts coming off the coils. I wasn't clear on your last remarks what that meant or what we were supposed to do at this point. Does this help?? Could the front air return just be too small for the unit and should we take out part of the wall to increase the size and get a larger grate and filter???? A 12X24X1 filter has to be trimmed to fit into the front air return. The back one does not have to be trimmed and it is also 12X24X1. This is an odd house and nothing seems to be "normal" in size, etc!! Thanks again!

  • smokentote Jan 02, 2010

    Happy New Year! I was just wondering if you my last info I sent made any sense and if there was anything else we should try before we call for a repairman to visit. Fortunately, we are having a cold spell here in South Florida, so we haven't needed the A/C, but summer's comin'. Thanks in advance for any additional thoughts or ideas.



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Indoor coil freeze-up is always caused by lack of airflow over the coil. Check your filters, check the coil to be sure it has not been blanketed by dust that bypassed ir went through the filter, check that all vents in the house are open.
Indoor coil freeze-up is NEVER a condition of undercharge, and any technician who attempts to make frost go away by adding freon does not understand thermodynamics.
The only other reason you could have freeze-up is the unit is over-sized, but I suspect that is not the problem since you have had it since 2002.

Posted on Dec 10, 2009

Testimonial: "We are checking all of your suggestions and believe this is the problem. Thank you so much for the information!"

  • 3 more comments 
  • Mark Egan Dec 17, 2009

    No freon leak! Don't even go there! :-). Freeze-ups are never caused by freon leaks. They are caused by lack of air flow (unless the indoor coil is undersized to the outdoor condensor, and that opens a whole new can of worms.).

    If you could not clearly see the fins of the a-coil because it was covered with a blanket of dust and dirt, then that is the problem. Typically you don't have to use a cleaner to get the stuff off. When it's dry, you just grab a corner of the blanket of dirt and grime and carefully pull if off.
    If it's too wet to do that, then use an old hair brush, but try to keep from pushing the grime up into the fins. You might can get a fin comb at Home Depot or Lowes. Pay particular attention to whether dirt and grime have been pushed up into the coil by previous repair's made by others.
    When you know the indoor coil is clean, then we have to start looking elsewhere, like the return air dust or the supply air ducts, and finally, unit tonnage and coil to condensor matching.

    Let me know what you find.

  • Mark Egan Dec 17, 2009

    I'm kinda confused, could you put your previous statement in the context of indoor unit and outdoor unit please. And do you have tow A/C unit's at this location, or one?

    I assume you are in A/C mode as you said, you are in Florida. But please confirm.

  • Mark Egan Dec 18, 2009

    At this point, leaks are a good thing, because for some reason it seems we are starving for air, not that we have too much.

    How old is this heat pump, and is it for certain a heat pump (topic heading that you posted under). You could have a bad expansion valve, or the expansion valve bulb has lost it's charge, or the bulb is not properly located on the larger suction line.

    How much history do you know on this system? Has it ever worked right?

    I used to teach this stuff at a local Jr. college, and I always taught system servicing and analysis, so we'll figure this out, once I have all the facts.

    Are you certain the indoor fan is running on high speed, or is runing the correct speed, at all?

  • Mark Egan Dec 18, 2009

    When you say the coil freezes up, are you looking at the coil when it does this?

    And just checking, does the fan/blower blow air at the coil, or does it draw air through the coil?

    I think I have identified the problem, pending you answers to the above.

  • Mark Egan Dec 21, 2009

    If you are watching the coil when it freezes up, then that is the problem.

    When you open the plenum up so you can see the coil, it's easier for the air to blow out at you than to go through the coil. The heat in the air is what keeps the coil from freezing.

    The only way you can watch the coil is to cover the opening with plexiglas or something that you can see through. But you really should not need to do that. Air leaking out of the system after the blower, but before the cooling coil is a no-no.



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