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Why Is There Ice on My AC?

ice-on-an-acNo, ice on your air conditioning system doesn’t mean the AC is working extremely well. It means the opposite. Ice isn’t supposed to form on an air conditioner under normal conditions. Unfortunately, people often ignore this sign of an AC malfunction because it seems like it makes sense—and this can soon lead to an air conditioner that isn’t providing any cooling at all!

What can happen with an AC that causes ice to form? There are several potential causes, and most are connected to the evaporator coil. This coil contains the cold refrigerant that absorbs heat from the air around it to cool it down. As the cold refrigerant evaporates, it warms up. If something prevents the refrigerant from warming up enough, it will remain below freezing. The water moisture that forms along the coil will then start to freeze. Once ice begins to form, it will further restrict the evaporator coil from absorbing heat until the coil is completely frozen over and the AC won’t work at all.

Here are the main causes of ice development:

Impaired airflow 

The AC draws warm air through the return air ducts and then sends it across the evaporator coil, where it loses its heat and cools down before heading into the supply ducts. If not enough warm air flows over the coil, the refrigerant won’t warm up enough and lead to freezing. Low airflow can be due to a clogged air filter, low voltage to the blower fan, a failing blower motor, or a collapsed return air duct. You can put in a clean filter yourself, but the other problems will require technicians to repair.

Refrigerant leaks

“Wait, why would less refrigerant make the coil colder?” This does sound strange. But when there’s less refrigerant in the coil, it can’t draw enough heat to warm up. The remaining refrigerant will be too cold and cause ice to form. A refrigerant leak isn’t only a problem for the evaporator coil: it places the entire air conditioning system in jeopardy of breaking down when the compressor fails. You’ll want AC repairs done right away.

Dirt or grime on the coils

Any dust, dirt, or other grime along the evaporator coil creates an insulating layer blocking the refrigerant from properly absorbing the heat in the air. Dust can build up on the coil because it’s often damp from the moisture on its surface. (Keeping the filter clean will help prevent this.) Mold and mildew can also become a problem along the coil, as both grow in damp environments. Whatever is blocking the coil will cause ice to build up as the refrigerant can no longer absorb enough heat.

Call Us to Fix Your Iced-Up AC

You might feel tempted to try to scrape off the ice from the coil. Please don’t! This doesn’t address the underlying problem and you may cause serious damage to the coil and worsen the problem. Our experts can help you with the air conditioning repair in Athens, GA to defrost the coil and solve the trouble that caused it in the first place.

At Snellville Heating, Air and Plumbing, Your Comfort Is OUR Business. Call us to help out your AC when it has ice or anything else wrong with it.

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