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Max Sr & Paul Schoenwalder Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning, A Corp. Blog

Ice and Your AC: Why It’s Happening and Why It’s Bad News

If someone asked you where you most expected to observe ice forming, you’d probably say on the streets in the wintertime, or maybe inside your freezer. These are sensible responses! What isn’t sensible, however, is seeing ice anywhere on your cooling system. Maybe you’ve never considered this, and maybe the first time you discover it, you’ll think it’s normal. After all, cooling systems chill the air, right?

While air conditioners do chill the air, ice is never a part of the process, and if you see it developing anywhere on your air conditioner, it’s not okay. Of course, this doesn’t mean you should try to remove the ice on your own–this can damage the system further and not get to the root of the problem causing the ice. So, your next step should be to call our team!

In the meantime, however, read on to learn a bit more about why this happens.

What Ice Development Means for Your Air Conditioner

If any ice starts developing on or in your cooling system, it means that the system is in need of professional repair. Ice forms when for some reason–we’ll get to potential reasons below–your cooling system’s refrigerant supply is no longer able to absorb heat how it’s supposed to.

You see, your air conditioner actually operates by removing heat from your home, drawing that hot air into the system. Blower fans blow hot air over the evaporator coil, where the refrigerant is housed. Refrigerant is what enables the evaporator coil to absorb heat and cool it down, returning chilled air into your home. Ice development occurs when something interrupts this process, such as one of these two issues:

A Dirty Air Filter: The air filter that comes standard with your air conditioning system is there to protect it from dust, dirt, and other debris that can get in and hurt the components inside. If, however, this air filter gets too dirty, then the cooling system can’t draw in enough of the hot air from inside your home, and without enough heated air to absorb, the evaporator coil then gets too cold, leading to ice development.

The air filter should be changed every 1-3 months to prevent this problem and others.

A Dirty Evaporator Coil: Over the years of use your air conditioner goes through, dust and grime can accumulate on various components, including the evaporator coil. The problem is that when the evaporator coil gets too caked up with grime, it is unable to absorb heat, leading to the same problem we just mentioned.

You should never try to thaw or chip away at the ice on your air conditioner. You might accidentally damage the system further, and this doesn’t address the root of the problem. Fortunately, our team is here to help find the root of that problem!

Contact the technicians at Max Sr & Paul Schoenwalder Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning, A Corp. today! Established in 1912, we are your trusted resource for reliable air conditioning service and more. 

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