Question about Goodman PHKJ048-1 Air Conditioner

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I have a Kenmore model # phjk048-1 heating and AC unit with iced up coils.

For the last few weeks the outside of my unit has had frozen coils, it also gets a thin layer of frost on teh top of the unit on the side that gets the frozen coils. I've cleaned it out and washed the coiuls to make sure there was no debris in them. What should I do next?
Thank You

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  • Rob Jordan Mar 18, 2008

    This is when the heat is on, outside temp has been in the 30-50 degree range. Should I still add refrigerant? Ans if so, do have any guidance on doing so or would it be easier to call a pro?

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Test run the unit, if still icing coil is present it means that the unit is under charge, need to add refrigerant but first be sure that no leaking pipe so leak test the piping.

Posted on Mar 18, 2008

  • Felizardo Erilla
    Felizardo Erilla Mar 19, 2008

    If the outside temp. is lower than 32 deg. F it is normal for the outdoor unit to build up ice but not safe for the motor compressor. Because the safe outdoor temp. in heating is 5 to 64 deg. F but don't worry it has safety device to stop the operation.

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Brand New 2 weeks old 4 ton Trane compressor leaks a lot of water onto pad


If the unit is running in cold weather than there is ice building up on the coils located outside. This is normal in that the unit is running in heat pump mode heating inside and cooling outside, After the unit detects the ice build up it briefly reverses the cycle heating the outside coils melting(defrosting) the ice which you observe as water on the pad.

The video gives you an example of the defrost cycle!
2012 Trane XL15i Heat Pump Defrost Cycle Steam Show

Dec 21, 2015 | Heating & Cooling

Tip

Why your unit is freezing up.


To understand why your AC or heat pump is freezing up, it helps to know how your system works.

There are 7 major parts to an AC system, 9 with a heat pump.

1 - Condenser/heat pump (The outdoor unit)
2 - Air Handler (the indoor unit unless the system is a package unit, then all is outside in one system. The air handler is usually found under the home, in an attic, or in a closet.)

In the condenser are the following major parts.

3 - Compressor
4 - Condenser coil
5 - Condenser fan
6 - (HPs only) reversing valve

In the air handler are the following major parts.

7 - Blower motor
8 - Evaporator coil
9 - (HPs only) electric heat strips

Some systems known as "dual fuel systems" use another heat source in place of the heat strips, usually a gas furnace. I will address gas furnaces in another post.

When an air conditioner is operating properly several things are taking place.

1 - The compressor is compressing or "pumping" refrigerant through the system.

2 - through changes in pressure, the refrigerant makes the evaporator coil get very cold, and the condenser coil gets very hot.

3 - The blower motor/fan circulates air across the evaporator coils, as the room temperature air (Also known as "indoor ambient") goes through the cold coil, it exits, cooled approximately 15 to 20 degrees cooler than when it entered. (In a ducted system, the blower is also the fan that circulates the air throughout the home.)

4 - The condenser fan circulates air across the condenser coils. As the outdoor air goes through the condenser coil, it removes heat from the coils that are very hot. This in turn removes heat from the refrigerant so it can run its cycle again, and through pressure changes, cool the evap coil.

5 - With a heat pump, the reversing valve reverses the flow of refrigerant in the condenser and evaporator coils.
In AC mode, the evaporator coils get cold, and the condenser coils get hot. But in heat mode, the evaporator gets very hot, and the condenser very cold.

Now, whichever coil is getting cold will freeze up if there is inadequate air flow across the coil, as the refrigerant in it is far below freezing, and there is not enough airflow to keep the humidity in the air from freezing on the coil.

Things that can cause poor airflow are,

1 - Dirty/clogged coils
2 - dirty/clogged filter (will only effect evaporator coil)
3 - Closed/blocked vents (will only effect evaporator coil)
4 - Malfunctioning or dirty fan

Low refrigerant will also cause a coil to freeze up, reduce efficiency and cause the system to run for long periods of time. Not to mention, shortening the life of the unit.

With a heat pump, in heat mode only, the condenser (outdoor) coil will routinely begin to freeze up in cold temperatures. This is due to the fact that the refrigerant is below freezing, and the cold outdoor ambient temp is not warm enough to keep the condensation in the air from freezing on the coil.

Note, a properly working AC should never freeze up.

A heat pump is equipped with defrost controls to prevent ice buildup.
Some are controlled by timers, some by temp.

When a HP is going into defrost mode, the condenser fan shuts down, the reversing valve reverses the flow of refrigerant and the once cold condenser coil now gets very hot, defrosting the coil. (Many people have said this process sounds like the unit is coming apart, or about to explode and are frightened by the "smoke" which is really just steam from melting ice that comes off the unit.)

During defrost mode, the secondary or "auxiliary" heat comes on to ensure that you are still getting warm air from the vents. (Again, this can be electric heat strips or a dual fuel system)

If you are experiencing cold air from the vents during defrost, that means your auxiliary heat is malfunctioning.

The auxiliary heat is used for three purposes.

1 - during defrost mode to maintain warm airflow (automatic)
2 - when the HP cannot maintain the set temp due to extreme outdoor temps. It comes on when the indoor temp drops several degrees below the set temp on the thermostat (automatic)
3 - For emergency heat source when the HP is not working. (Manual)

To recap....

Iced up coils?

Poor airflow
low refrigerant
Malfunctioning fan
failing defrost system


There are two things that can be done in a pinch to help de-ice frozen coils. This may get you by until the repairman can get there, or you can fix the system if you are a do-it-yourselfer.

HPs frozen outdoor coil in heat mode, not going into defrost?

Cover most of the vents, and turn the system onto cooling mode until the outdoor coil is thawed. then uncover vents and return to heat, or emergency heat. (this usually takes 15 min or less)

Frozen coils in AC mode with a heat pump?
Turn the system to heat with the thermostat on just high enough to get the system to come on. (again, usually takes 15 min or less to thaw.)

AC only, with frozen evap coils? (this can sometimes be seen frozen all the way outside to the compressor on the copper lines.)

Turn the system off, and the fan switch from "auto" to on".
This will usually defrost the coils within 1 to 2 hours.
(If your system has the furnace in line before the evap coil, turn the system to heat, and the furnace will defrost the coil within minutes.)



on Dec 25, 2008 | Carrier XHB123D X/Y Series Heat/Cool Air...

1 Answer

Ac unit keeps freezing up


what a heat pump is designed to do is reverse the evaporator inside coil and condensor outside coil. it trys to pick up heat from outside and transfer it inside. they work fairly well down to about 40 degrees ambient then not so good. that is why you have auxillary heat i.e. 15 kw. when it was shaking as you saw the compressor is trying to pump liquid instad of vapor as it's designed to. you either have a control issue or it's overcharged.

Feb 03, 2014 | Goodman Heating & Cooling

1 Answer

I have a Gibson 20,000 BTU Window Unit - Model # AK20E4RFBA- I know it is an older model but it has cooled this "older" house very well for a long time....here in the last week the unit has...


LOL no it seems to work properly . But with the heat wave going on it appears that you have the temp set to low . If the filter is clean and all other things are fine then try turning it up a few degrees but only after yo have de iced it.. also look inot the coils and be certain that they are clean . it's just all the heat and not the unit in my humble opion.

Jul 19, 2011 | Gibson Heating & Cooling

1 Answer

I have a new kenmore ac unit model 580.75101500 i bought about two weeks ago and installed last week. its been blowing ice cold as it should no problems until today. Now the ac turns on runs about 5...


Take it back or call Sears. A 2 week old unit should not do that. I'll assume the settings are right like set on AC Auto or Max cool and not just fan. Are the coils icing or were they icing behind the filter? If not, I think it may need to be serviced.

Aug 07, 2010 | Kenmore Heating & Cooling

2 Answers

Carrier 38CKC042300. oUTSIDE UNIT FAN WAS TURNING REAL SLOW. ac UNIT IS OFF BUT FAN TO OUTSIDE UNIT IS STILL TURNING. sHOULD NOT BE TURNING AT ALL WITH AC UNIT OFF


The outside fan may run if the unit is in defrost mode this is normal for most heat pumps it is there way of trying to keep the outside unit from staying iced over so the next time the unit runs it will have air flow through the coil and the ice will not be there to prevent air flow.

Jan 12, 2010 | Carrier 38CKC042 Air Conditioner

2 Answers

Why does my AC keep freezing (Carrier FB4ANF036). I have replaced the blower motor less than a month ago due to the same problem. Just last night we had a lightening storm and shortly after that the AC...


if your system is a heat pump you can switch to heat and see if coil outside gets cold while indoor blows warm air - then switch back to a/c - both coils should not be cold at the same time - low freon pressure / dirty coil / dirty filter / low air flow causes freezing

Sep 22, 2009 | Carrier Heating & Cooling

1 Answer

Ice builds up on evaporator coils. After chipping off the ice, refrigerator is cold again. This lasts only a few weeks as ice builds up. Eventually, the freezer is cold but the refrigerator is very warmer....


Assuming this was originally a frost-free model, either the defrost cycle timer died or the defrost heating element died. If it's the timer, you might be able to manually start and end a defrost cycle every few days. If it's the heating element, you may be stuck with what you're doing or an expensive repair or buying a new refridgerator.

Jul 12, 2009 | Kenmore 61042 Top Freezer Refrigerator

1 Answer

I have a Kenmore side by side. There is ice in the drain opening and the water is running out of the front of the freezer. Now my ice maker is no longer making ice.


The drain is frozen up 98 percent of the time its because the condensing coils are plugged with lint. This makes the unit run too long and freezes the defrost cycle's water too quickly. You can either poke a screwdriver in hole with hot water or unplug unit for a few days to dethaw ice. Some people tie a heat probe to element {bailing wire} and shove the wire down into the hole. Now this shouldnt have affected the icemaker. Get back to me if you need futher help

Jun 06, 2009 | Kenmore 55612 / 55614 / 5561 / 655619 Side...

2 Answers

My AC unit keeps freezing up on the copper lines going into the house from the outside unit. It also freezes up on the inside lines and the air is not cooling my home down.


Operate your air conditioner with the fan in the on position. But first turn the fan on, turn the temp up or shut the cooling off. Your coil is more than likely frozen over. At night when outside temperature drops the refrigerant pressure and temperature in the system also drops. This action can cause icing of the cooling coil, with the fan in automatic everything shuts down at the end of a cooling cycle. Thus no air movement to melt ice on previous cooling cycle.

May 09, 2008 | Heating & Cooling

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