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AC Anomaly: Ice on the System

With the 1-2 combo of heat and humidity that we have in our geographic region,  it is pretty safe to say that you are going to be using your air conditioner pretty heavily and regularly throughout the long, hot summer season. It is also safe to say that any type of problem with your air conditioner can be very alarming, and that acting fast in the event of trouble is a must. What can you do, though, when the sign of a problem with your AC looks, at first glance, to be a positive? man-with-a-fan

Educate yourself! You don’t need to be an air conditioning expert — like those on our staff — to understand that your air conditioner is in trouble. You just need a little bit of knowledge to understand what AC problems can look like. Once you know what to keep an eye out for, it is a lot easier to ensure that you are staying on top and getting out ahead of various air conditioning issues.

Where Does the Water Come From?

First of all, let us first consider where the ice that is freezing up on the coil is coming from to begin with. Remember, your air conditioner does not use water as part of the cooling process. What is a part of the cooling process, though, is dehumidification.

Many homeowners in this area actually use dehumidifiers in conjunction with their air conditioners, as humidity really can be oppressive around here. Even so, the air conditioner does draw some humidity out of the air as it runs and cools your home. That humidity condenses on the evaporator coil. When the coil gets too cold, the condensation can freeze up. Even a thin layer of ice is enough to spell trouble for your system. So why does the coil get too cold? There are a few answers to this question.

Dirty Components, Refrigerant Leaks

Let’s start with the less serious cause of such problems: dirty components. If you’ve visited this blog before, then you know that we love reminding homeowners to change their air filters as needed. Dirty filters restrict airflow, and that can put a lot of stress on the system while driving up your energy costs. It can also cause your coil to freeze up.

This coil is the point at which refrigerant in your system evaporates, which is what allows for your system to remove heat from the air in the first place. If airflow is restricted, it won’t absorb heat effectively, and that means it will get cold enough to freeze that condensation. The same is true of a dirty coil. A layer of grime can insulate the coil, impeding the heat transfer process with the same results.

Neither of these conditions is terribly difficult to resolve, but either can result in serious issues if ignored. A refrigerant leak, however, is in a whole other class. If your system is low on refrigerant, it is almost certainly due to a leak. The system does not consume refrigerant, after all. If you see ice on the coil, along with frost on the refrigerant lines themselves, this is likely what you’re dealing with. Regardless, be sure to report any issues with your AC to us immediately.

Let Ideal Services Heating & Cooling handle your AC services in Cary, NC.

 

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