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No, Ice on Your AC Isn’t Normal: Here’s Why

no-ice-on-ac-isnt-normalAs HVAC professionals, our customers trust us to give them expert advice when it comes to their air conditioning equipment. So when we’re asked if ice developing on any part of the AC system is normal, we’re going to tell you no.

We understand why you might believe that this is normal. They involve chilled air coming from the vents, so it makes sense to have ice involved in the process, right? In fact, one of the ways to jerry-rig up a simple cooling system is to place a bowl of ice in front of a fan—so wouldn’t it make sense for an AC system to work in a similar matter?

No, it isn’t! Ice on your air conditioner—particularly on the coil—is a symptom of a problem with the air conditioner, possibly a major one that requires professional Wyckoff, NJ air conditioning services.

AC Systems Don’t Use Freezing to Cool a Home

There is no point within the cooling process than an air conditioner uses ice or frost, and it shouldn’t be a byproduct of the process either. Your air conditioner is a type of heat pump—this means that it pumps heat from one location to another—in the case of an air conditioner it’s moving it from inside a home to the outside.

This works through the circulation of a chemical refrigerant blend that evaporates and condenses in a heat exchange cycle. Although the refrigerant in the indoor evaporator is extremely cold, it shouldn’t trigger the creation of ice, because it warms up as it absorbs heat from the air.

So, What Does Ice on the Evaporator Coil Mean?

There are a few possible causes of a “frozen evaporator coil.”

  • The HVAC air filter is clogged. This is one of the reasons it’s important to change your air filter every 1 to 3 months. If insufficient warm air is drawn over the coil, it will stay too cold, and moisture will begin to freeze along it.
  • The evaporator coil could be dirty. This could also be caused by a clogged air filter. Dirt serves as an insulating layer over the coil, restricting its ability to absorb heat. This leaves the refrigerant too cold, and will again to cause moisture to freeze along the coil.
  • Your air conditioner might have a refrigerant leak. This is a most serious problem, since a drop in refrigerant level changes pressure throughout the system and will damage the compressor. The reduced refrigerant level hinders heat absorption on the coil, leaving the remaining refrigerant too cold, and the same moisture freeze will begin.

Ice on your evaporator coil will only continue to develop, because the ice prevents heat absorption. However, you don’t want to try to scrape the ice off to fix the problem. Not only will this fail to solve the root of the problem, however it may damage the coil.

At DB Heating & Cooling, Inc, we serve the heating and cooling needs of customers throughout Rockland County, NY as well as Bergen County, NJ and surrounding communities. You can count on us for expert services. Contact us today!

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