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Bayonet Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning Blog

Ice on Your Air Conditioner? Yes, That’s a Problem


A common misunderstanding that homeowners with central AC systems have is that it’s normal for ice to appear on the AC. People mistakenly think that the system is just doing a really good job of cooling the air.

However, these homeowners soon notice that their home feels stuffy and warmer than it should be and that the AC seems to be running constantly without cooling down the home adequately. This happens because ice on the evaporator coil isn’t helping the AC system work–in fact, it’s hindering the AC system’s operation 

For icy coils, you’ll need to contact us for AC repair in Tampa, FL. Let’s review why ice develops, what it means, and what you should do if you see it happening. 

The Icy Evaporator Coil

Ice collecting on the evaporator means that your AC system isn’t absorbing enough heat. When the air conditioner doesn’t absorb enough heat, the area around the coil gets colder and colder, creating the ice you can see on the coils. An evaporator coil fails to absorb heat for a few reasons.

  • Low airflow: The AC’s blower fan pulls warm air from the house through the return air ducts and sends it over the evaporator coil. If this airflow declines, the coil won’t have enough heat available to warm up the refrigerant. A clogged air filter can cause low airflow.
  • Dirt and grime on the coil: Dirty coils create an insulating layer that reduces or slows down the process of heat absorption. We usually see this in AC systems that haven’t received regular maintenance. 
  • Leaking refrigerant: When the AC system has a refrigerant leak, the lower refrigerant charge lessens how much heat the evaporator coil can absorb, which leaves the remaining refrigerant below freezing, causing ice to develop.
  • An undersized or oversized AC: Is your AC system new? If it wasn’t properly sized for your home, it could have too much cooling power or too little heat absorption.

What Should I Do if I See Ice on the Coils?

The first thing you should do is check the air filter. When a filter is dirty or clogged with dirt and dust, the blower won’t be able to move enough warm air across the coil for it to absorb. If you can’t remember the last time you changed the air filter, this could very well be the culprit. 

If that doesn’t fix the problem, do not try to remove the ice yourself by scraping it off or using a hair dryer to melt it. Not only will this potentially damage the coils, but the ice will re-form again once it’s removed because the underlying problem hasn’t been addressed. 

Instead, shut the system down and allow the ice to thaw on its own while you wait for AC repair. We will check the refrigerant levels and determine the cause of the problem to restore your AC system’s proper function and reliability. 

Contact Bayonet Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning for AC repair in Tampa, FL today!

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