Has your air conditioner iced up like a freezer? Ice on your air conditioner during a hot day is not something anyone expects to see and points to a problem. When an air conditioner develops ice, often this points to a problem and the need for some maintenance. For those who have ice on their air conditioner, Steve’s Heating & Air will share why an air conditioner will ice up and what needs to be done to correct this problem.
What Happens when Airflow is Restricted?
An air conditioner needs to have a constant stream of flowing air or the humidity will accumulate. Once the humidity builds ups it will settle on the coils. During the cooling cycle the coils can become very cold and the condensation will turn to ice. Often when you see ice, it is due to the lack of air flow. The air flow restriction can be due to closed air vents, or a dirty air filter. The sudden appearance of ice points to a dirty air filter as most people do not close their air vents. When ice develops on the air conditioner, turn off the unit and wait for the ice to melt. While you wait, check all of the air vents and make sure they are all open. Then check your air filters. If they are dirty, change them out to restore proper air flow. However, in some cases the ice may be due to dirty evaporator coils. Again air needs to circulate. At times it is the evaporator coils that are dirty and they need to be cleaned. It is strongly encouraged to have the evaporator coil cleaned by a professional HVAC technician to ensure the coils do not get damaged.
What Happens when AC Refrigerant is Low?
If the air conditioner develops a leak, the refrigerant will deplete. When the air passes over the evaporator coils, condensation forms by removing the moisture out of the air. The condensation collects into a collector pan and the water will safely drain away from the home. If the refrigerant doesn’t flow through the evaporator coil with the proper speed, the condensation runs into the collector pan and will freeze. The source of the low refrigerant must be located and repaired. The refrigerant levels must be restored to prevent the condensation from turning to ice. You will need an HVAC technician to refill the refrigerant and of course, repair the leak. Again, if you see ice, turn off the air conditioner and contact your HVAC technician.
Faulty AC Electrical Wiring
Once the temperature reaches the desired setting the air conditioner ends the cooling cycle. Each cooling cycle is controlled by the thermostat inside the home. Sometimes the thermostat’s wiring can become damaged or detached. As a result, the thermostat may not function properly. At times the thermostat will get stuck on and the cooling cycle will run non-stop. As the compressor becomes colder and colder, ice will build up. Ice on the compressor often points to a problem with the thermostat or the limit switch which can cause the air conditioner to get stuck on. If you notice your air conditioner running continuously and there is ice on the compressor, contact your HVAC technician.