As you start to use your air conditioner more and more often to keep cool this season, you may notice ice forming on part of the system. This may seem like a good thing, at first. Your air conditioner is supposed to be cooling your home, right? Unfortunately, air conditioner ice is actually a sign that your system is in serious trouble. Read on to find out why air conditioner ice happens, and what you need to do about it.
Causes of Ice
Your air conditioner cools your home by evaporating refrigerant in the evaporator coil, which is located right below the duct return on the inside part of your system. As warm air flows out of the ducts and across the coil, the coil evaporates refrigerant to siphon thermal energy from it. The air around the coil is constantly cooling during operation, as heat is leeched from it. Condensation also forms on the coil as the air around it is cooled past the dew point. The flow of warm air keeps the condensation on the coil from freezing due to the constantly dropping temperature. However, if the air flow is interrupted then the temperature of the air will drop until the condensate freezes.
If the evaporator coil freezes over, it will be cut off from the warm air it needs access to in order to cool your home. The ice can also spread down the refrigerant line to other parts of the system, causing them to break down.
Lack of air flow to the coil is typically caused by two things: a clogged air filter or a broken air handler. You should have your air conditioner’s filter cleaned or changed every three months or so in order to keep it clean. If you notice that your air conditioner doesn’t seem to be circulating any air, you should call for repairs to make sure your air handler is functioning.