So you’re at home on a hot day … you’re running the air conditioner, but something seems off. It’s not keeping you as cool as you think it should. Since you can’t seem to get comfortable, you go and check the thermostat, and it seems to be working just fine. Time to check the actual AC unit … and then you see it. Ice.
But ice is a normal part of the cooling process, right? Well, no. Ice actually has no part in the cooling process, and if you see ice developing anywhere on your air conditioner (most often this is going to be on the evaporator coil) then you have a problem on your hands. But we’re here to help! Read on as we talk a bit more about this problem.
Ice on the AC = Bad News
Sometimes people will see a buildup of ice on their air conditioners and think that it’s normal, as we alluded to above. They might think it’s a sign that their system is doing a really good job. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case.
A buildup of ice on your air conditioner system’s coil is a sign of a problem. It can be caused by more than one factor, which we’ll explain in a moment. The end result, though, is that ice will soon harm your air conditioner if not removed by a professional. That same professional needs to find and fix the root cause of the ice development before calling it a day.
What Causes the Ice?
Like we just mentioned, there is more than one potential underlying cause for ice on your air conditioner, specifically on the evaporator coil:
- A clogged air filter. Yes, that’s right, you could have too much dirt and debris collected in the air filter. What happens is that when it gets too clogged up, it restricts airflow. So there isn’t enough hot air for the evaporator coil to absorb, and the cold refrigerant going through it makes it too cold, causing ice to form.
- A dirty evaporator coil. Yup, back to dirt again. This is because it’s a serious problem. If dirt and other debris are allowed to build up on the evaporator coil, it hinders the transfer of heat to the refrigerant. This leads to the creation of ice on the coil as your system can’t absorb heat.
- Low refrigerant levels. There’s a common misconception that refrigerant is meant to deplete, like gasoline does from a car. This just isn’t the case though. If your system is losing refrigerant, it means the AC has a leak. And when a leak happens, there’s not enough refrigerant to absorb the heat from the air going over the evaporator coil, and therefore it will freeze over.
If there is ice on your AC system, the best thing you can do is call our team. Trying to thaw or chip it off yourself can lead to more harm than good for your air conditioner, plus it doesn’t resolve whatever caused the ice development to begin with.