ice from refrigerant leak

Why Is There Ice on My Air Conditioner?

It may seem unlikely, but ice can form on your air conditioner even during the warmest months of the year. Unfortunately, when ice formation happens on your air conditioner, it signals that there’s a problem. You can perform some initial troubleshooting, but depending on the severity of the issue, you may need to contact an HVAC technician for a repair.

These are four of the most common issues that lead to air conditioners “freezing” or “icing up”:

1. Lack of Air Flow

2. Dirty Coils

3. Low Refrigerant Level

4. Broken Blower Fan Motor

In need of an urgent AC repair? Our team of Shavano Park air conditioning service specialists at Air Care & Canyon Lake Air Conditioning can get you the help you need.

1. Lack of Air Flow

Your air conditioner needs a sufficient amount of airflow in order to keep from overheating, but your air conditioner also needs a sufficient amount of warm air flowing into it to keep ice from forming.

Here’s how it works:

  • Your AC system sucks in the warm air from your home through one or more return vents.

  • Your AC system then cools that warm air, creating condensation in the process.

  • When there is a sufficient amount of warm air entering your AC system from your home, that condensation stays liquid.

  • If there is an insufficient amount of warm air entering your AC system from your home, that condensation will freeze.

Tip: Blocked vents or a clogged air filter are common causes of insufficient airflow. If you notice ice forming on your AC unit, first make sure that your HVAC system has a clean air filter, and then check to make sure that none of the vents in your home have been closed or covered up by furniture. Afterward, defrost your unit by switching your thermostat off and only switching the fan on. This might be all that’s needed to solve the issue.

2. Dirty Coils

As mentioned above, your air conditioner produces condensation as it cools and removes humidity from air. The condensation tends to form on your AC’s coils, where it then drips down into the drip pan. As long as an air conditioner’s coils are clean enough, they’ll be able to transfer refrigerant to the heat pump without a problem.

When the coils get too dirty, that heat transference does not work as efficiently. As a result, the AC system is going to work harder to cool the air. Unfortunately, your AC system might work so hard that it causes the condensation on the coils to freeze.

Tip: Do not ignore frozen AC coils! Continuing to run your AC under these conditions might damage the compressor (the most expensive part to repair). Shut your unit off, and schedule a technician to look into the issue and clean the coils.

3. Low Refrigerant Level

The refrigerant in your air conditioner cools air by removing heat from it. Unfortunately, air conditioners can develop refrigerant leaks, or sometimes a technician fails to charge the refrigerant properly during the original air conditioner installation.

This results in a pressure imbalance in your air conditioning system that causes the refrigerant to absorb a much greater amount of heat than it normally would. When this excessive heat absorption occurs, the coils and refrigerant lines can freeze.

Tip: Refrigerant issues should not be ignored and should only be handled by those with professional training. If your AC’s refrigerant lines or coils are frozen over, shut off the unit to avoid damaging the compressor, and contact an HVAC technician.

4. Broken Blower Fan Motor

Without a properly functioning blower fan, your AC system will develop issues with airflow and air pressure. If your blower fan is not able to keep air flowing through your system, the refrigerant lines or condensation that forms on your air conditioner’s coils may freeze.

Tip: There are a couple of clues that indicate your air conditioner’s blower fan is malfunctioning. One clue is if there is little or no airflow coming through your air vents. Another clue is that the fan will only blow at certain speeds.

At Air Care & Canyon Lake Air Conditioning, we proudly help our neighbors in Shavano Park and Canyon Lake with their AC needs. Call our Shavano Park HVAC services team at (210) 495-3555 or at (830) 964-2211 for service in Canyon Lake or request your appointment online.

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