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Premier Heating & Air Blog

No, You Shouldn’t See Ice on Your Air Conditioner


In this post, we’re going to clear up a common misconception people have about air conditioning systems. It’s an important one to know about since it can lead to needing major AC repair in Conyers, GA if the problem isn’t properly addressed. 

The misconception: It’s normal to see ice forming on parts of the air conditioner.

We understand why people might believe ice on an AC is normal. After all, the air blown from the system feels as if it’s been cooled by ice, and the system uses refrigerant, so why shouldn’t ice start to appear along the evaporator coil?

However, this shouldn’t happen. Ice is not part of how an air conditioner works, and if it starts to appear along the evaporator coil (this is where it will show up), it means something is wrong with the AC that needs attention. Ignoring it can mean a loss of cooling, high energy bills, and even a failed compressor.

Why you shouldn’t see ice on your AC

Although ice can be used to cool down air blown over it, an AC uses refrigerant for this job. The cold refrigerant moves through the evaporator coil and draws heat from the air, which warms the refrigerant before it returns to the compressor. Under normal circumstances, this will not create ice. There is some moisture in the air conditioner from the air, but this moisture drips down into a condensate pan and is then pumped out of the AC. 

Why ice might begin to form

The reason that ice develops along the evaporator coil is that the refrigerant in the system gets too cold. It causes the moisture that collects on its surface to freeze. This ice then further blocks heat absorption, which will create more ice, which will continue until the whole coil is blocked and the AC can’t remove any heat from the air.

And why is the refrigerant too cold? There are a few explanations:

  • The air filter of the HVAC system is too clogged, so not enough warm air is entering the air handler and moving across the surface of the coil. This can be fixed by changing the air filter.
  • The evaporator coil has gotten dirt or grime along its surface, which is making it harder for the evaporator to absorb heat, which leaves the refrigerant inside too cold.
  • The air conditioning system is leaking refrigerant. We know this sounds backwards: why would less refrigerant mean ice? But what happens is that the reduced amount of refrigerant in the evaporator coil won’t draw in enough heat, and the remaining refrigerant will stay too cold and trigger ice development. 

Call for professional AC repairs

If you see ice on your air conditioner, check the air filter first. If it’s clogged, put in a new one. However, you’ll still have an iced-over coil—and please don’t try to scrape the ice off yourself, as you may damage the coil. You’ll need to call our HVAC professionals to investigate the problem and find out what’s wrong. They can clean off the coils and, if there’s a refrigerant leak, they can seal the leak and recharge the air conditioner with the amount of refrigerant that was lost.  

Call Premier Heating & Air and Experience the Premier Difference!

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