Ice and Your AC: Why This Is a Bad Combination

Even in North Texas, summers are hot and humid. By the time June rolls around, you’ll want a functioning air conditioner in your home; by August, you’ll absolutely need one. Despite being one of the most important appliances a home can have, most people don’t know how their air conditioner works. Most of the time, this isn’t an issue. However, when your air conditioner starts malfunctioning, you’ll want to know why.   If your air conditioner has been giving you trouble for a while and is now starting to ice over, you may ask yourself, “Is this normal?” Luckily, your trusted Flower Mound HVAC experts can explain the issue. At Strittmatter Plumbing, Heating and AC, we pride ourselves on offering quality HVAC and plumbing services to the people of North Texas. Keep reading to find out why ice and your AC is a surprisingly bad combination.   Is your AC frozen? Instead of searching online for “ac contractors near me,” call Strittmatter for the most trusted AC services in Flower Mound. We’ll send a technician to your home and have the cool air flowing again in no time.  

Why Ice Is a Bad Sign

Air conditioners blow cold air, so ice gathering on an air conditioner must mean it’s working super well, right? Wrong. Ice isn’t forming on your air conditioner because it’s extra effective at blowing cold; it’s forming because something is wrong. If you don’t address it, ice can further damage your air conditioner and even cause it to stop working altogether.   If you see ice building up on your air conditioner’s coils, you may try a DIY fix. However, we wouldn’t recommend it. Unless you have extensive knowledge about how air conditioners work and their essential components, you may end up making matters worse or even breaking your air conditioner. We recommend calling a Flower Mound HVAC professional who can check for leaks and other signs of damage.

What Causes My AC to Ice?

Air conditioners are more complicated than you might think, and they rely on many mechanisms functioning properly to blow cool air. When it comes to an air conditioner that’s icing over, there’s not always one clear cause. In fact, many different problems can cause your air conditioner to freeze.

Clogged Filters

Your HVAC filter catches dirt, dust, debris and anything else that gets trapped in its mesh. Filters are important because they help clean the air that is circulated through the home. When changed regularly, filters play an important role in improving indoor air quality. However, many homeowners forget to change their air filters, and before they know it, their air conditioner is malfunctioning or freezing over.   When homeowners wait too long to change their filters, the filters become dense with debris, allowing for less and less air flow. When the airflow becomes too restricted, there isn’t enough air blowing over the evaporator coil for it to absorb. When the evaporator coil can’t absorb enough heat, it freezes over.

Dirty Coils

Almost all ice issues come back to one air conditioner component: the evaporator coil. For an air conditioner to blow cool air, the evaporator coil must be allowed to absorb heat from incoming air. Insufficient air flow because of clogged filters can cause evaporator coils to drop below freezing, but so can dirty coils. When grime and debris are allowed to build up on the evaporator coils, they can’t function properly. Humidity in the air sticks to the debris, making the dirty stickier and the problem worse.

Refrigerant Leaks

In order to cool the air, your air conditioner relies on a chemical compound known as refrigerant. Air conditioner refrigerant works by absorbing heat from indoor air, at which point it transitions from a low-pressure gas to a high-pressure liquid. Other components in your air conditioner send the refrigerant outside where it cools down and turns back into a low-pressure gas.   When your air conditioner is manufactured, it is generally given enough refrigerant to last its lifespan. However, when there is a leak, refrigerant levels drop. If you notice that your air conditioner is failing to cool your space or you hear a hissing noise, you may have a refrigerant leak. When there is a refrigerant leak, the evaporator coil can’t effectively absorb heat, which causes your unit to freeze. Luckily a Flower Mound AC repair expert can check your air conditioner for leaks and make the necessary fixes to get cool air flowing again.

How to Prevent Ice

In the same way that your car requires regular check-ups and oil changes, your air conditioner needs regular maintenance to function properly. If you never schedule air conditioner maintenance, chances are good that it will eventually have a serious issue. As we all know, air conditioners break down at the most inopportune times — especially in the hot summer months when they’re working overtime to cool your home. To avoid that miserable situation, it’s important to schedule regular maintenance.   Apart from scheduling regular maintenance, homeowners can prevent ice by doing a little bit of routine maintenance on their own. Before you turn your air conditioner on for the first time in the summer and during seasons of regular use, try these tips to prevent ice-buildup:  
  • Check your air filter. If it looks especially dirty, change it. Check it once a month during the summer and every couple months during the rest of the year.
  • Clean your evaporator coils. After you turn your air conditioner off, you can use an air compressor to blow off some of the debris. Then use a mixture of water and dish detergent to spray them off. Let the coils sit, rinse them with water, then wait for them to dry before using your air conditioner.
  • Check your blower fan. If your air conditioner’s blower fan isn’t working properly, your evaporator coils could freeze up. Speak to an HVAC technician if you think the fan needs repaired or replaced.

AC Repair Flower Mound

When your air conditioner is gathering ice, it’s time to call an air conditioner repair service. If you continue to run your air conditioner with ice on it, you could cause permanent damage. Luckily, Strittmatter Plumbing, Heating and AC can address any and every air conditioner concern. Whether you need an air conditioner repair, maintenance or air conditioner installation, we’re here for you. Instead of Googling “ac contractors near me” and risking shoddy, expensive service, call the name you can trust: Strittmatter. Visit us online to schedule service or give us a call at 972-362-4135 to speak to a team member.

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