What to Do if You Find Ice on Your Air Conditioner

What to do if you find ice on your air conditioner

Ice on the air conditioner seems like more of a winter problem than a summer one, right?  When it seems that everything, from ice cream cones to ice sculptures, is melting around you, why are we suddenly seeing ice form on the air conditioner?

While it is true that ice can accumulate on the condenser unit of the air conditioner during the winter months, that’s usually not a major problem.

It’s during those summer months, when you find yourself drinking iced everything and always looking for a shady spot, that ice on the air conditioner should alarm you.

Should you be worried?

Unfortunately, you should know that ice on your air conditioner (that doesn’t come from winter weather) always means that there is a problem.  In fact, you’ve probably already noticed that your a/c isn’t working as well.

Why is it happening?

There are 2 common reasons for finding ice on your air conditioner.  The first one is that there isn’t enough air blowing over the evaporator coil.  Nicholson Plumbing Heating and Air Conditioner describes this problem like this:

“Imagine you have a cup of water and every hour you add 5 ice cubes into it. You also have a hair dryer blowing hot air over the cup. Obviously, the ice would melt after you add ice into the cup.

Now imagine that you put something in between the hair dryer and the cup while you’re still adding ice to the cup. Because there’s something blocking airflow to the cup, the ice isn’t melting. This would continue until the cup is completely full of ice.”

The second reason is that there simply isn’t enough refrigerant.

What should you do?

  1. If you notice that your air conditioner is freezing up, the first thing you should do is turn it off.  Ice means that there is a problem and continued use could create even more trouble.

2. Second, do NOT attempt to pick off and clear off the ice yourself.  Let it melt on its own.  Trying to hack away at it could end up causing more damage.

3. A clogged or dirty filter could be blocking airflow over the evaporator coil, so clean or replace the filter.

4. Once the filter is replaced, try running the air conditioner again.  Does the a/c seem to be working properly?  Is any ice forming?  If everything seems to be good, just keep an eye on the unit.

5. If a new or clean filter did not do the trick, turn off the air conditioner and contact a professional technician.

6. If low refrigerant is suspected, contact a professional, such as the ones at Flame, in case there are leaks that need to be fixed before adding more refrigerant.

For more information about our residential and commercial cooling services, contact Flame!

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