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Ice on Your Air Conditioning: What It Means

At some point during the summer when your air conditioning is running on a regular basis, you may notice ice developing along its indoor evaporator coil. At first, this may not seem like it’s a major problem. After all, doesn’t the presence of ice mean that the air conditioner is doing its job of lowering the temperature?

However, ice should never appear on an air conditioner when it’s running correctly. ACs don’t use ice to lower the temperature of the air sent into the ventilation system, and the presence of ice means that a malfunction is causing the evaporator coil to stayed colder than it should be, triggering moisture along it to freeze. Call for HVAC repair technicians when you see this occurring so you can have the problem fixed before it affects your comfort—or damages the air conditioner.

What Might Have Caused the Ice?

One of the possibilities for the formation of ice on an AC is a loss of refrigerant through leaks. It sounds odd that less refrigerant would cause a drop in the temperature of the coil, but that’s what happens. With a lower amount of refrigerant absorbing heat along the evaporator coil, the remaining refrigerant stays too cold, starting the freezing process that will then block further heat absorption.

Another possibility is a clogged air filter. If the filter isn’t allowing sufficient warm air to flow through the cabinet and across the evaporator coils, the coils will become too cold. This is one of the reasons you must regularly change or clean the air filter.

It’s also possible that the coil has collected a layer of dirt or grime across it. This serves as an insulator, and that means that, once again, the refrigerant in the coil won’t warm up enough during evaporation.

It’s important that you make no attempt to solve this problem by scraping off the ice. This not only fails to address the root issue, it may damage the coil. Professionals will find the problem, fix it, and then defrost the coil.

Brilliant Electric Heating & Cooling has served Chicago, IL since 1956. Call us for air conditioning repair—any time of the day or night!

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