It may seem like a good thing to have ice on your air conditioner during a hot summer day. That means that it’s working well, right? Wrong, unfortunately. Ice on your air conditioner is actually a sign that the system is dealing with a problem. While that problem may be little more than a nuisance at first, it can cripple the entire system if it isn’t dealt with in-time. Have a look below at what causes air conditioner ice, and how you can stop it.
The Cause of Air Conditioner Ice
Inside every air conditioner is an air filter, which is meant to protect the system from the dust and other detritus that is often found floating around the ductwork of the average home. The filter is good at protecting the system, but it does have a weakness: it needs to be changed every few months in order to prevent from becoming clogged. If you don’t change your air filter often enough, it will block most of the air in the ducts from flowing into the air conditioner. That’s where the real trouble starts.
The lack of airflow will prevent the air conditioner from cooling as well as it should. However, it will also disrupt the balance of the air around the evaporator coil. Without the constant stream of warm air to keep the temperature balanced, the coil will eventually freeze over.
Why Ice is a Big Deal
A coil that is frozen over will be unable to properly siphon heat from the air around it. What this means for you is that the system won’t be able to properly cool your home. That’s not the worst thing about it, though. The worst thing is that the ice can actually travel down the refrigerant line to other parts of the system like the compressor. When the compressor breaks, the entire system loses the means to circulate refrigerant. The issues compound from there, eventually resulting in the entire system breaking down. So, by not changing your air filter often enough, you can end up with an iced-over and broken-down system in the middle of a hot summer day. The best way to avoid this, of course, is to make sure that you change your air filter often enough to keep it functioning properly. Every three months or so while you’re using the air conditioner on a regular basis should be enough.
It’s worth noting that if you already have ice on your air conditioner, the issue has moved past the point where you personally can fix it. At that point, you should call for professional repairs and have your technician take care of the issue for you. That will go much better than just changing the filter after the fact and hoping for the best.