When it comes to your air conditioner, you may think that it’s normal to see ice on it. After all, your air conditioner chills the air, so doesn’t that mean ice is involved?
Well… no. The thing is, if you see ice developing anywhere on your air conditioner–it’s most common on the evaporator coil–it means there is something amiss. We’ll dive into the problems involved with ice development below. Read on!
AC Systems Use Electricity and Refrigerant, Not Ice!
This is the most important thing for you to note. Air conditioners work to keep your home cool through the use of electricity and a refrigerant process, which involves no ice whatsoever.
If you do see a buildup of ice on your air conditioner, it’s a sign of a problem, as we alluded to above. This problem has a few potential causes, each of which we’ll dive into in a moment. But the fact is, this is a problem you want to have remedied right away.
What Causes the Buildup of Ice
As we just mentioned, there are a few possible culprits for the buildup of ice. These include:
- A Clogged Air Filter: Too much dirt and debris can eventually cause major issues for your AC system. If the air filter that air passes through in order to enter your air conditioner is packed with too much dirt or dust, it reduces airflow, and there’s not enough air flowing over the evaporator coil for that coil to do its job. This means the coil gets too cold due to the refrigerant inside, and as a result in can freeze over.
- A Dirty Evaporator Coil: As we just said, the evaporator needs to be able to absorb heat from the air flowing over it. So if there is a layer of grime or dirt on the evaporator coil, the process is restricted. Since again, it can’t absorb proper heat, it will freeze over.
- A Loss of Refrigerant: Despite a common misconcption, refrigerant is not something that runs out like fuel does from a car. Instead, it is a recycled chemical substance that should last the air conditioner’s entire lifespan. If you’re losing any, it means there is a leak that needs to be repaired. And if there isn’t enough refrigerant in your system, then it can’t absorb enough heat… and again, the evaporator coil would freeze over.
If you already have ice on your air conditioner, the last thing you should do is try to thaw or remove it on your own. Not only can this do more harm than good, but it doesn’t address the root cause of the problem, and we can address that root cause if you give us a call.