The job of your air conditioner is to cool your home, but it may not be able to do this efficiently if ice has formed on the outdoor unit’s pipes. If it doesn’t stop pushing out cool air altogether, it will have to use more power to try to keep up with the thermostat’s demands. Here’s a closer look at the reasons ice forms on an AC and what you can do to correct the problem.
What Causes an AC Unit to Form Ice?
Restricted Air Flow
The evaporator coil in your air conditioner cools the warm air that’s drawn into it so that it can be transferred into your home. Although the coil is extremely cold—reaching temperatures as low as 10 to 20 degrees Fahrenheit—the untreated air is warm enough to keep those coils from freezing.
However, a dirty air filter, clogged pipes, or a faulty blower fan can reduce the amount of air that’s sent to the coils. These problems many reduce airflow and cause the coil to freeze over, resulting in ice formations on the coil and pipes.
Low Refrigerant Level
The refrigerant in your air conditioner is a special chemical compound that enables the unit to cool the warm air it draws in from outdoors. A reduction in pressure caused by low refrigerant levels will affect the cooling process. As a result, the coils will freeze, and you’ll see ice forming on the surrounding components.
The refrigerant is enclosed in copper tubing, so a leak is typically the only way you can experience a loss. The immediate signs of a leak include hissing sounds coming from the copper tubes and your AC unit pushing warm air through the vents. If the problem isn’t corrected, you’ll also see higher energy bills.
How Can You Get Rid of the Ice?
If you observe ice on your unit, you should first thaw the coil and pipes. You can do this by turning the AC unit’s cooling feature to the off position and setting the fan on your HVAC system to run. This will draw in warm air and push it through the coils, helping to defrost the unit.
Run the fan for three to four hours before turning the AC back on. In the meantime, you should also replace the air filter if it’s dirty—this will promote more airflow.
If thawing your air conditioner doesn’t solve the problem or you suspect a refrigerant leak, have a repair technician look over your system. Located in Thomasville, NC, Comfort Tech Heating & Air Conditioning has more than 20 years of experience and offers free estimates with guaranteed service. They also offer $20 off your first service call when you mention their website. Once your unit is back to normal, new customer referrals that result in an installation or replacement can earn you a $50 Visa check card. Call (336) 472-5858 today to schedule an appointment and start feeling comfortable as soon as possible.