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Schaal Plumbing, Heating and Cooling Blog

Is There Ice on Your Air Conditioner?

AC-technician-workingIf so, then we have something to tell you — this is a bad sign! Yes, your air conditioner has one job and one job only: to cool your home. However, there is a major difference between a home cooling system and a freezer. While you may look at an air conditioner with ice on it and think it is just working a little too effectively, the fact is that ice on any air conditioning system is a sign of trouble.

The good news is that not every problem causing an air conditioner to ice over is going to be very serious. The bad news? At least one of them is. When it comes down to it, no matter what is causing this ice to form on your air conditioner in Des Moines, IA, acting quickly to resolve the problem is definitely in your best interest. Here are some potential causes of the problem. Remember, our technicians are always here to help. 

Dirt and Dust Cause Big Problems!

Nobody really likes cleaning all that much. Even if you do enjoy keeping your home, tidy, you’re probably not opening up your air conditioner and cleaning your coil regularly, right? Well, if you are you really shouldn’t be. This is one of those many tasks best left to trained professionals.

But why are we talking about cleaning the coil? Because the evaporator coil is the point at which refrigerant in your system evaporates, allowing the system to remove heat from the air in your home. A layer of dust and dirt impedes the absorption process, and leaves your coil to get colder than it should. That can cause condensation to freeze up on it, resulting in the ice.

Another component that may get dirty and negatively affect your AC is the air filter in the system. This filter is there to protect the components within your air conditioner, not the air quality throughout your home. If it is too dirty, it can restrict airflow throughout the system. This means that the evaporator coil will not have enough heat to draw from, and again, ice can form.

Refrigerant Leaks Are More Serious

Those are your best case scenarios when it comes to reasons why your air conditioner may ice up. Another, much more serious scenario is a refrigerant leak. The refrigerant in your air conditioner serves as the heat transfer fluid. Your air conditioner does not consume this fluid the way that your lawn mower consumes gasoline. Instead, it cycles the refrigerant throughout the system over and over again. That means that low levels indicate a leak.

If there is not enough refrigerant in your air conditioning system, the coil may freeze because it is impossible to absorb enough heat from the air moving over it. You may also notice frost developing on the refrigerant lines themselves. Continuing to run an AC that is low on refrigerant can cause short cycling, increased cooling costs, excessive wear and tear, and even compressor failure.

Schedule Your AC Services with Schaal Heating and Cooling.

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