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Ice on the AC’s Evaporator Coil: What This Might Mean

One of the aspects of air conditioning technology that often confuses homeowners is that ice isn’t a normal part of AC operation. It’s easy to understand why people unfamiliar with air conditioning systems might think that ice appearing on parts of the AC is not a serious problem. After all, the air conditioner sends out air that feels crisp and cold, as if it were blown over ice… why shouldn’t ice be expected?

But Ice on an Air Conditioner Is a Sign of a Problem!

The truth is that the appearance of ice—usually along the indoor evaporator coil—indicates something is wrong with the air conditioner. For reasons we’ll look at in the next section, the evaporator coil is staying colder than it should, which causes the moisture that condenses along it to freeze. This starts a vicious cycle, since ice on the coil makes it harder for the refrigerant inside it to absorb heat and raise its temperature, and this leads to even more ice. A fully iced-over coil means an AC that provides no cooling at all.

Reasons This May Happen

  • The air conditioner is losing refrigerant to leaks. With a lower amount of refrigerant in the evaporator coil, the coil will draw less heat, and the remaining refrigerant will stay too cold.
  • The air filter for the HVAC system is clogged with dust, lint, and debris. This will not let a sufficient amount of warm air into the air conditioner to lower the temperature of the coil, triggering the freezing process. (This is one of the many reasons you must change out the filter regularly in summer.)
  • The coil is covered with grime. Any layer of dirt, dust, etc. on the coil insulates the refrigerant inside from proper heat absorption, and this leads to ice developing.

Don’t scrape the ice off to try to fix this! Not only do you risk damaging the coil, but you won’t address the actual root problem. Instead, give our technicians a call for repairs.

Contact Air Creations, Inc. in Westfield, NJ for your air conditioning repairs. “We Do It Right!”

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