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Collier's Heating & Air Conditioning Blog

Ice on Your AC? No, That Shouldn’t Be There


This is a topic we need to talk about with all homeowners who have a central air conditioning system. It’s a topic people often misunderstand, and that leads to them failing to call for the AC repairs they need in time. Ice on an air conditioning system indicates that something is wrong—it may be a minor repair issue, or it may be a serious malfunction that puts the entire cooling system in jeopardy. The only way to know for certain is to call HVAC repair technicians.

Okay, let’s get into the “ice on the AC” confusion and why it’s trouble.

Air Conditioning Systems Don’t Use Ice to Cool a House

When somebody notices ice along the indoor evaporator coil of an air conditioner (and this is almost always where ice appears first), they may think it’s only a natural part of how the AC works. The air coming from the vents is cooled as if it were run across ice, so why shouldn’t ice be part of the process?

This is not how air conditioning systems work! An AC moves heat from the air of a house and exhausts it outside, which cools the air. The refrigerant moving through the coils goes through a process of evaporating and condensing to move the heat. At no point is ice needed, and it shouldn’t appear either, the same way you don’t want to see ice appear in your refrigerator.

How Malfunctions Create Ice in an AC

So why does ice appear on an air conditioner at all if it’s not supposed to? Malfunctions can lead to the indoor evaporator coils losing their ability to absorb heat, and the refrigerant will remain so cold that the condensate moisture from the air will freeze and become ice. Once ice forms, it starts a vicious cycle of making it harder for the coils to absorb heat, causing more ice to form. If the coils become fully blocked with ice, they won’t absorb any heat and the AC won’t cool the home.

Here are some reasons for the evaporator coils to lose heat absorption in the first place:

  • The air filter is so clogged that not enough warm air is entering the air conditioner and being blown across the coils. The filter needs to be changed every 1 to 3 months to prevent this.
  • Leaking refrigerant makes it harder for the coils to draw in heat, and the remaining refrigerant is too cold. Loss of refrigerant puts the air conditioning system in danger of compressor burnout—and that can mean the end of the air conditioning system.
  • The blower fan is malfunctioning and not sending enough warm air across the coils.
  • A layer of dirt, dust, grime, or mold on the coils is insulating them from drawing in enough heat.

To care for your air conditioning in Syracuse, IN so it doesn’t fail due to lost refrigerant, broken fans, dirty coils, or anything else, rely on our experienced technicians. Don’t try to scrape off the ice—call us, we’ll find the problem, and have it fixed fast.

Turn to Collier’s Heating & Air Conditioning for your HVAC repairs. For over 30 years, a company you’ve grown to trust.

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