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Ice Buildup on Air Conditioner

When the AC unit is operating in the summer months and you find ice building up somewhere on the AC system it’s an indication you need to resolve the issue. It’s likely that you observed the ice around or near the time when you also noticed the system wasn’t operating or cooling as it should.

Leaving the problem unattended can cause serious damage and increase the cost of repair at a later date.

Why Ice Forms

Typically we see three main issues that create ice forming on an AC system.

  • Your HVAC filter needs to be changed. A filter that is clogged does not allow for proper airflow and lowers the air temperature to the point where ice starts to form. A clean air filter is vital for keeping your AC system running efficiently and increases the HVAC equipment lifespan. Check to see how often the manufacturer recommends changing the filter and increase frequency of replacement if your home has increased air pollutants from smoking, pet dander or excessive dust buildup.

    The air could also be restricted from flowing as designed if you have clogged ventilation in the ducts, blocked air registers or something plugging up the outdoor unit.
  • A dirty evaporator coil also restricts airflow and should be cleaned or replaced before it causes damage or breakdown of the compressor.
  • The system has a leak. Using diagnostic tools we find out where the system is leaking and make the necessary repair including adding more refrigerant, if low.

    There is a provision however; If your AC system is older than 10 years, refrigerant is no longer available due to its banned chemicals (hydrochlorofluorocarbons). Having to replace an AC system isn’t something most people want to do but new systems can be far more energy efficient (saving on energy cost) and they do cool your home faster.

Additional Causes

It’s not common but ice formation can also be due to mechanical failure including malfunctioning valves, wiring, blocked drains or refrigerant lines that are kinked restricting the active coolant within the system.

It’s also possible that the AC system is operating when the outside temperature is colder than 15°.

AC Maintenance

You can greatly reduce the risk of your AC system failing when needed if you schedule regular HVAC maintenance which will help prevent breakdown.

>>> Read more about AC Maintenance

we service and maintain all AC makes and models

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