Air Conditioner Stops Blowing Cold Air

I’d rather get an objective view from the dopers here, than from an HVAC guy…this one should be simple…

My neighbors A/C started to blow air that was gradually less cold througout the day yesterday, until such a point that the air wasn’t cold anymore.

The compressor is outside, next to his house. First thing we did was power off the unit, and clean all the screens and anything else the air flows over.

One pipe had iced over completely (don’t know if this is normal). All coils are now clean as well. Waited about three hours, powered up and retried AC. Unit still blows air that isn’t warm…but isn’t cold either.

Possible causes? If it needs a freon charge, doesn’t that mean he has a freon leak? Could the compressor be shot?

Unit is about six years old. It’s a Rheem, new construction…probably a cheap unit…South Jersey…heavy use June thru Sept…

IANA HVAC guy but I had a similar situation except that I didn’t have any pipes iced over. My compressor had a huge leak in it , looked like it had been hit by lightning. Either that or the field mice had a bonfire party in the unit. $900 repair just to replace the compressor.
I don’t know how you’d be able to check whether your compressor has a leak or just needs a charge if you don’t trust the HVAC guy. That would be good info to have though.

If it gradually got less cold, it probably needs a freon charge. The unit’s brochure may say it needs a charge every so often because of “normal” leakage. Otherwise your coils are probably leaking somewhere.

I know you said you didn’t want an opinion from a HVAC guy, but my husband started in the business when people were still using coal-fired furnaces.

The system most likely has a leak & is dangerously low on freon. DO NOT continue to run the unit or you risk damaging or destroying the compressor.

This wouldn’t have anything to do with the freezeup, but your neighbor should check the drain line in the basement to make sure it isn’t obstructed

Federal law (EPA) prohibits the discharge of freon into the atmosphere, so there is no such thing as “normal” leakage. Those owner’s manuals & brochures are more company propaganda than actual reliable information.

If you see ice on one of the copper lines, the compresser is working (that’s the outside unit). I agree that low freon is a possibility, but I would make sure I cleaned the coils in the airhandler too (the inside unit). If they get dirty, they tend to ice up, and a frozen line makes this suspicous. When you have dirty, frozen coils on the inside you strain the compressor on the outside and you get no evaporative cooling on the inside coils. An AC company will charge $100-200 to clean and recharge your freon. If you feel confident in opening up your airhandler and getting to the coils, Home Depot sells spray on coil cleaner. Good luck.