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- SINCE 1981 -

Serving Orange County

- SINCE 1981 -

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Saddleback Plumbing Heating & Air Blog

You Don’t Want to See Ice on Your AC

ice-on-an-ac

During a hot summer day in Southern California, few things feel more appealing than ice. Ice means cool drinks, ice means refreshment, ice means cool.

So when your air conditioning system is running during those hot summer days, doesn’t it just seem right to see ice forming on it?

Well, no matter how it seems, ice isn’t supposed to form on any part of an AC. If you notice ice on your air conditioner—most likely on its indoor evaporator coil—something is wrong. Don’t delay calling us for AC repair in Laguna Niguel, CA or elsewhere in Orange County.

An Air Conditioner Doesn’t Use Ice for Cooling

Here’s the first important fact to know about ice and air conditioners: at no point in its cooling process does an AC use ice, nor should it create ice as a side effect. An AC uses refrigerant in coils to draw heat from the indoor air and then release it outdoors. Ice normally won’t form as the refrigerant goes through the process of evaporating and condensing.

How Ice Can Start to Develop

Although an air conditioner doesn’t create ice as it runs, it does pull water moisture from the air as it evaporates refrigerant in the indoor coil. This water forms along the coil and then drips down into the condensate drainage system. This water can turn to ice if the air conditioner is malfunctioning:

  • If the AC has lost refrigerant to leaks, it will cause the evaporator coil to absorb less heat from the warm indoor air moving across it. This will stop the remaining refrigerant in the coil from warming up past the freezing point, and the water along the coil will start to turn to ice. A frozen evaporator coil is one of the major signs of an AC that’s losing refrigerant, and this is a problem that needs immediate attention from HVAC professionals.
  • When the evaporator coil becomes covered with dirt, grime, or mold, it makes it harder for the refrigerant in the coil to absorb heat. This again leads to the refrigerant staying too cold and ice beginning to form. It will take professionals to properly clean the coil.
  • A clogged air filter can also cause an iced-over coil. The filter prevents enough warm air from moving through the AC and allows the refrigerant to heat up. Put in a new filter and then shut off the AC to allow the coil time to defrost, then try the AC again.
  • A malfunctioning blower can also restrict warm airflow through the AC and lead to a frozen coil. Professionals must handle any repairs to the blower assembly.

Please don’t try to scrape off the ice! This may lead to damaging the coil and it won’t fix the underlying problem. Unless a clogged air filter was the problem, call for our technicians to diagnose the cause of the ice and then fix the AC.

Saddleback Plumbing Heating & Air has served Orange County since 1981. When you need fast and effective air conditioning repair, just reach out to us!

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