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Family-Owned and Locally-Operated in West Houston

Family-Owned and Locally-Operated in West Houston


Cool Care Heating and Air Conditioning Blog

Should My Air Conditioner Have Ice On It?


Your air conditioner makes things cold, right? So if there’s so much cold that there’s ice forming on the air conditioner, doesn’t that mean it’s doing an extremely good job? No! Ice on your air conditioner is a sign that something is wrong, and the ice itself will make things even worse. Here’s how this happens and what to do about it.

Your Air Conditioner’s Evaporator Coils

The component where this ice forms is the coil that contains the refrigerant, specifically in the section called the evaporator coils, which are part of the indoor unit. In this section, the refrigerant should be absorbing heat from your home, and that heat causes the refrigerant to evaporate inside the coils from a liquid to a gas. As this gas flows to the outdoor unit or condenser, it will release that heat outside and condense to a liquid again.

How the Ice Forms

When the evaporator coils are unable to absorb heat, the refrigerant remains much too cold, which allows ice to form from the condensation that is naturally present. This compounds the problem, because the ice acts as insulation, making it even harder for the evaporator coils to absorb heat, making it develop more ice, and so on. This means your air conditioner is simply unable to cool your home properly, and you need air conditioning repair in Houston.

Why the Evaporator Coils Fail to Absorb Heat

There are four likely culprits, any of which might be preventing the refrigerant in the evaporator coils from absorbing enough heat.

  • Refrigerant Leaks: If some of the refrigerant has been lost from the system due to a damaged or deteriorating coil, the pressure in that loop of the coil will be too low. This makes the refrigerant even colder than it would normally be, so in addition to simply not having enough refrigerant to do the job, you have an extreme temperature that quickly leads to ice formation.
  • Dirty Evaporator Coils: Just as we mentioned the ice acts as insulation on the evaporator coils, anything else that coats or covers them will prevent them from absorbing heat. Thick layers of dust or caked-on dirt could be the cause of an ice problem.
  • Clogged Air Filter: The air filter in your air conditioner should be changed once a month while it’s in regular use. If it’s wearing a coat of dust, it won’t allow enough air to pass through. This means the evaporator coil isn’t being exposed to enough hot air for it to absorb the appropriate amount of heat.
  • Blower Fan Problems: This fan pushes the hot air across the evaporator coils. If it’s malfunctioning, there won’t be enough heat for the refrigerant to absorb. 

How to Resolve Your Ice Problem

The first step is to make an appointment for a professional to come diagnose the specific cause of your iced-up coils and provide the necessary repairs. While you’re waiting, turn off the air conditioner to allow the ice to melt. If you have a “fan only” setting, use that to help ensure that the melted ice won’t pool inside your home. Otherwise, make sure to check the condensate pan frequently to avoid water damage. In most cases, the ice will melt completely within 24 hours, allowing your technician to access the system and resolve your problem. 

Reach out to Cool Care Heating and Air Conditioning, The Best Care for Your Air.

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