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Should There Be Ice on My AC’s Evaporator Coil?

The short answer: No.

The long answer below.

People often ignore ice developing along an air conditioning system because it seems almost a natural process. The AC sends out cool air, which feels as if it was wafting over ice. So why shouldn’t ice be a part of the process?

But this is a mistake. An air conditioning system doesn’t use ice at any point in the process of providing cooling for a house. It uses chemical refrigerant to move heat from the inside of the house to release it outside. Any appearance of ice indicates a problem with the system, an imbalance that is causing water vapor to freeze across the evaporator coil. When there is ice on the coil, it becomes harder for the coil to absorb heat from the air, and the AC will start to lose its heating power.

Why does ice start to form in the first place? There are a number of possibilities:

  • The air conditioner might be losing refrigerant to leaks. As the level of refrigerant drops, it makes it harder for the evaporator coil to absorb heat, and the remaining refrigerant stays too cold. This causes the freezing of water moisture along the coil. A loss of refrigerant will eventually create even more catastrophic problems for an air conditioning system—including compressor failure—and needs to be fixed as soon as possible.
  • A clogged air filter can cause a drop in the warm airflow into the air conditioner cabinet. The refrigerant won’t be able to absorb sufficient heat, leading to freezing. Make sure to change the air filter every 1 to 3 months to avoid this.
  • Dirt and grime collecting along the evaporator coil will create an insulation layer that restricts heat absorption and triggers freezing.

Call the Doctor of Home Comfort today! Hall’s Heating, Air Conditioning & Refrigeration serves Minden, LA and the surrounding areas. We’ll find out why your AC has ice on it and repair the problem!

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