Considering the blistering heat that we’ve been dealing with this summer season, you may see ice on your air conditioner and think, wow, that old beast is really working hard! Well, you are partly right — the system is working hard if it has ice on its evaporator coil or any other component. However, this is due to the fact that ice on an AC is a sign of trouble, and can put a lot of strain on the unit when it is already working under incredible stress.
But what causes this ice to form in the first place? Is it always cause for concern? And, wait a minute — where is the water that is freezing coming from, anyway? We’ve got all of those answers and more for you in this week’s blog post. Whether you are looking for great AC information or outstanding air conditioning services in Marana, AZ, Goettl Air Conditioning is the company to call. And now, let’s get to the bottom of this strange scenario.
The Source of the Water
Before we talk about what exactly is causing ice to form on your air conditioner, let’s first look at where the water that is freezing on the system comes from to begin with. As your air conditioner runs, it dehumidifies the air as it cools it down. Now, our air is pretty far from “humid” in this part of the country. That does not mean that there is no humidity in the air, though, and some of the moisture in the air will condensate on your evaporator coil as your run your AC. If you are using a humidifier with your air conditioner, then you are actually introducing humidity into the air, which can be drawn out by the system.
Regardless of just how much humidity is pulled from the air, it doesn’t take much condensation to cause a layer of ice to build up on your evaporator coil. Even a thin layer is too much, as it insulates the coil and impedes the cooling process while also straining your system. Now that you know where the water comes from, why does it freeze?
Cold Coil Conditions
The condensation is freezing on the evaporator coil because it is getting too cold. Sounds simple, right? Well, it is, but the situation is still a bit tricky because there are a few different reasons as to why that coil is getting so cold to begin with. One potential reason is a dirty air filter, which will restrict airflow throughout the system. Another is a dirty coil, which makes it difficult for the coil to absorb sufficient heat from the air passing over it. In both cases, the coil gets too cold and condensation can freeze.
A much more serious potential cause of the problem is a refrigerant leak. If your system is leaking refrigerant, then you need to have that refrigerant leak pinpointed and sealed up immediately. You also need to have the system recharged to the appropriate level. Continuing to run your system with a refrigerant leak can result in irreparable damages to your home cooling system.
G-O-E-T-T-L it’ll keep you cool but it’s hard to spell.