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Why Does My Air Conditioner Have Ice Build Up?

Air Conditioner Ice Build Up

Does your air conditioner have a build up of ice on the outside? Wondering what could be the cause or fix for this? Read on to find out!

air conditioner with ice

Restricted Air Flow

The major cause of ice build up on an air conditioner is restricted air flow. Without the proper air flow being able to flow over the evaporator coil, the temperature will easily drop below freezing and ice will begin to accumulate both inside and outside.

Most people only notice their outside unit being frozen but chances are if you our outside unit is a block of ice then so is the evaporator coil that sits on top of your furnace out of view. R-22 works to cool your home by making your indoor coil extremely cold as warm air blows over it. The best way to prevent ice build up on your air conditioner is by regularly changing your filter and keeping it clean.

If your furnace filter is clean, there is a chance that your evaporator coil may be clogged with dirt, hair ect. If you have never had this cleaned in the past, it may be time. Other items that can cause your air conditioner to freeze:

  • Blocked drain pipes
  • Refrigerant leaks
  • Low temperature outdoors
  • Night time setting of your thermostat is too low

Signs Your Evaporator Coil Is Frozen

As previously stated above, if your outdoor unit is a bock of ice, chances are so is your evaporator coil. Signs that your evaporator coil is frozen include:

  • Condensation on the surface of your air handler indoors
  • Condensation on the surface of the condensate drain
  • Ice build up on your refrigerant line outdoors
  • Ice build up on your evaporator coil

What to Do When Your Air Conditioner Is Frozen

  • First things first, you need to turn your air conditioner off immediately to begin to let it thaw out.
  • Next, check to make sure you filter is clean and if it isn’t replace it with a new one.
  • Allow the ice on the unit to melt all the way. This could easily take 5 or more hours but it needs to completely thaw before it can be used again.
  • After your air conditioner has completely thawed out, and with a clean filter in it, turn it back on and see if it works properly.
  • If you are still having issues after this, contact a professional HVAC company for help.

Things Not To Do

  • If your air conditioner is frozen, it is important to not continue to operate the unit. By running your air conditioner while it is frozen, you run the high risk of damaging your compressor or burning up your motor. These parts are very expensive to replace and should be taken care of at all costs.
  • Don’t attempt to scrape or pick the ice off of your air conditioner or evaporator coil. The chances of damaging your unit are high and this will not speed up the process or solve the actual problem.

Conclusion

Finding your air conditioner covered in ice is never fun, but it is important to follow the correct steps to solve the problem. Taking short cuts will likely lead to you damaging your unit even further and costing you more money in the long run. Ice on your unit is indicative of a problem and it is important to find what that problem is to prevent ice from reforming. If you have followed all of the above steps and are still having issues, contact us and we will be glad to help you out.