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What’s Up with This Ice on My AC?

Monday, July 24th, 2017 at 11:00 am

question-markThere are a lot of different problems that may develop with your air conditioning system. Some have very obvious symptoms. If you notice that your air conditioner is making way more noise than usual, for instance, of if your system is blowing warm air, then you will probably recognize this as being indicative of a problem. Other issues, however, have symptoms that can throw homeowners for a loop. The development of ice on an air conditioning system is one such symptom.

You could be forgiven for failing to recognize that ice on an air conditioner is actually a sign of potentially serious trouble. After all, the air conditioner is there to cool things down. The fact is, however, that there is a world of difference between what an air conditioner should do and what a freezer does. If you notice that you have ice on your air conditioner in Clovis, CA, then you should definitely have the source of the problem identified as soon as possible. 

How Can Ice Start, Anyway?

I thought that my air conditioner used a refrigerant cycle in order to remove heat from the air in my home — so where is the water that is freezing coming from? This is an excellent question. Obvious, cold itself is not enough to form ice. You need some amount of water for that. So where is the water that is freezing on your evaporator coil coming from? The air itself!

You see, your air conditioner is there to cool your home — but it also has some dehumidifying effect as well. When you remove heat from the air in your home via the evaporation of refrigerant in the evaporator coil, you also remove some humidity from the air. That humidity then collects on the evaporator coil before dripping down into the condensate drain pan. At least, that’s what happens when everything is working right. Not so if the coil is too cold, though.

Why Is My Coil too Cold?

There are a few different reasons why your coil may be getting cold enough to freeze the condensation collected on it. It is possible that you have a refrigerant leak, and this is a big problem with potentially serious consequences. If your system is low on refrigerant, it is due to leaks. If your system continues to run while leaking refrigerant, you can do real damage, even that resulting in compressor failure.

You may also just have to clean your air filter or clean your evaporator coil, though. You see, a dirty air filter restricts airflow throughout the system,  and that can lead to icing on the coil. So too can a dirty evaporator coil. In both cases, the coil is prevented from absorbing enough heat from the air surrounding it, and that leads to it getting cold enough for condensation to freeze. By changing  your air filter or having your coil cleaned professionally, you can avoid a whole lot of trouble down the road.

California Indoor Comfort Inc. Where comfort and technology come together.

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