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What Does Ice on My AC Mean?

Delivering Quality Comfort to the Homes and Businesses of Hartford County and New Haven County

Man-with-fanWhile our cold winter seasons may be a bit more extreme than our summer weather, that is no reason to overlook any problems with your air conditioning system. We're creeping up on August now, and that means that very hot temperatures are here to stay for a good while longer. By ignoring any signs of trouble with your home cooling system, you are only leaving yourself vulnerable to potentially serious AC problems that could have been otherwise avoided.

One sign of trouble is ice building up on your air conditioning system, though you may at first think that it simply means your air conditioner is working too effectively. Remember that your air conditioner is not a freezer, though. Not only does ice developing on the system not mean that it is cooling too well, but it actually means that there is something wrong with the system. Count on our Farmington, CT AC repair experts to diagnose the problem accurately and resolve it completely.

First Things First: Where Is the Water Coming From?

What do you need in order to have ice? Water, of course! Or, at least, moisture. Your air conditioner does not use water in its operation, so it cannot really be leaking the water that would be necessary for ice to develop. Because the air conditioner does dehumidify the air somewhat as it runs, though, it can be responsible for the presence of that water.

Your air conditioner evaporates refrigerant in its evaporator coil in order to cool the air surrounding and passing over that coil. When this happens, moisture is drawn out of the air and it condenses on the coil. When functioning properly, your air conditioner simply drains this condensation away from your system and your home as the condensation drips down into the condensate drain assembly. So why does it sometimes freeze on the coil?

  1. Dirty filters. If the air filter in your air conditioning system is too dirty, then it can restrict airflow to a point that the coil is not able to draw enough heat out of the air. When that happens, the coil gets too cold and it can wind up freezing the condensation that is on it.
  2. Dirty coil. If the coil itself is dirty, then the layer of grime will insulate the coil itself. This makes it difficult to the coil to draw enough heat out of the air, even if airflow is sufficient. The resulting ice will only insulate the coil further, exacerbating the problem.
  3. Refrigerant leaks. In the worst case scenario, you may have a refrigerant leak in your home cooling system. This is a serious problem, as it is the evaporation of refrigerant that allows your system to remove heat from the air in the first place. Failure to seal the leak and recharge the refrigerant can lead to potentially irrevocable damages to your home cooling system.

Don't ignore ice developing on your air conditioner. Contact us instead, and enjoy a better performance from your AC. Live more comfortably, choose Dynamic Mechanical.

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