First off, we want to compliment you on realizing that something is wrong when you see ice developing anywhere on your air conditioner. Too many homeowners think that ice is part of the cooling process. After all, ice and refrigeration go together, right?
This may seem logical, but in actuality, ice has no part in the air conditioning process. Your air conditioner works by pulling heat out of your home and expelling it outdoors, then putting the air it brings in through a refrigerant process that uses gas and liquid to chill that air.
So that said, what’s going on when you see ice on your air conditioner? Read on to find out!
What Causes Ice to Form on an Air Conditioner?
There are actually a few potential culprits to this problem. First off, the area where ice is most likely to form, and where you’ve probably discovered it before stumbling onto this blog post is on the evaporator coil. Here’s some possible reasons why:
You Have a Clogged Air Filter
The air filter that comes standard with your HVAC system is in place to protect the inside components of that HVAC system from dust, dirt, and other debris that can get inside and cause major problems for the components of your air conditioner.
If that air filter gets too clogged up with dirt and dust, it reduces the level of air that’s able to get through, to your evaporator coil. Ironically, this means the evaporator coil cannot absorb heat as it is meant to, so the cold air going around it can cause it to ice over.
The Evaporator Coil Is Dirty
Dirt and debris are major problems. If it builds up on the evaporator coil, it restricts the heat transfer we just mentioned in the previous section. This leads to the development of ice on the coil since your system, again, cannot absorb heat.
Low Refrigerant Charge
When we talk about refrigerant charge, we are talking about how much refrigerant is actually in your air conditioner. The thing is, upon manufacturing your air conditioner is supplied with enough refrigerant to ideally last its entire lifespan. So if your air conditioner has low refrigerant, it means there is a leak.
The leak must be accurately located and repaired so that your air conditioner can properly do its job. And in the meantime, the low refrigerant charge can and will make it difficult for your air conditioner to absorb heat and create cool air, leading to ice development.
Please don’t hesitate to reach out to our team if you discover ice anywhere surrounding your air conditioner or on your air conditioner. And remember, you shouldn’t try scraping it off or thawing it out yourself. This could not only damage the system and void a system warranty, but it doesn’t resolve the root of the problem either–thankfully you can just call us to figure out what that root of the problem is!