Causes Of Ice Formation On Your AC And How To Deal With It

Learn about common causes of ice formation on your AC system and discover expert tips by Sandium for AC repair and maintenance to keep your unit running efficiently.

Updated on Oct 22, 2023
5 min read
Causes Of Ice Formation On Your AC And How To Deal With It

Believe it or not, your AC actually needs a little bit of warmth to do its job effectively. When the temperature inside your AC unit drops too low, moisture in the air can freeze on the evaporator coils, creating ice. This can happen for a number of reasons in your Northern California home or business.

Dirty Air Filters

When the AC’s air filter gets too dirty, it can't do its job properly and airflow is restricted. This means that not enough warm air is flowing over the evaporator coils, causing the temperature to drop too low and moisture in the air to freeze on the coils.

Low Refrigerant Levels

The refrigerant in your AC absorbs heat from the air inside your home and releases it outside. When the refrigerant levels get too low, it can't absorb enough heat and the evaporator coils get too cold. This causes the moisture in the air to freeze on the coils, resulting in ice formation on your AC unit.

A Malfunctioning Thermostat

If your thermostat is not working properly, it may cause your AC to run for longer periods of time than necessary, which can lead to a drop in temperature that is too low. This crash in temperature can cause the moisture in the air to freeze on the coils, leading to ice buildup.

Mechanical Failure

There might be a problem with the blower motor or fan, causing air to move too slowly over the evaporator coil, leading to ice formation. Another possible mechanical issue is a blocked or dirty evaporator coil, which can cause the refrigerant to become too cold and lead to ice formation.

Running the AC at Too Low a Temperature for an Extended Period of Time

Running your AC at a very low temperature for long periods of time can also cause the evaporator coil to freeze. When the temperature inside your home is set too low, the evaporator coil can become so cold that it causes moisture in the air to freeze on its surface.

Solutions to Prevent and Get Rid of Ice Buildup on Your AC

If you've noticed ice forming on your air conditioner, it's important to take action to prevent further damage and get your AC back in excellent shape. Here’s what you can do:

Turn off the AC

If you notice ice buildup on your AC unit, the first thing you should do is turn off the system. This will allow the ice to melt and prevent any further damage to the unit.

Clean the coils

Dirty coils can also cause ice buildup, so clean them using a soft brush or a specialized coil cleaner.

Replace or clean air filters regularly

One of the easiest ways to prevent ice buildup is to make sure your air filters are clean. Replace or clean them every 3 months or more frequently if you have pets or allergies.

Check refrigerant levels

Low refrigerant levels can cause ice buildup, so have a professional HVAC technician assess your system and recharge it if necessary.

Check the thermostat

Make sure your thermostat is functioning properly and set at the recommended temperature for your home.

Check for air leaks

Air leaks in the ductwork can cause the AC unit to work harder than necessary, again, leading to ice formation. Seal any leaks (using a duct sealant or duct tape) to cover any cracks or gaps in the ductwork. If you don’t know how to do this properly, hire an HVAC technician.

Schedule regular HVAC maintenance

Have a technician inspect your AC unit at least once a year to catch any potential issues before they become major problems.

By following these simple tips and with regular AC maintenance from a professional HVAC service provider, you can prevent ice buildup on your AC and keep your home comfortable at all times.

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