Air ConditioningWhy Ice Forms on Your AC Unit

June 12, 2017


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Air conditioners get put to the test every summer here in Kansas, and this summer looks to be no different. If you take a look at your unit, you might be surprised to see ice or frost forming on the interior coils. It’s not uncommon, and most people don’t think much of it. After all, air conditioners are supposed to be colder, aren’t they? In point of fact, however, that ice or frost constitutes a serious problem, which requires a trained technician to repair.

An Imbalance in the Cooling Process

The coils represent the heart of the air conditioner: the point at which the air itself is cooled. Refrigerant enters the coils in liquid form under a great deal of pressure: passing through the valve in a set amount. (The exact amount and type of refrigerant depend on the make and model of your air conditioner.) In the coils, the refrigerant shifts from liquid to gaseous form. Since that entails a rise in temperature, it pulls the needed heat from the air surrounding the coils, cooling it in the process. The cool air can then be blown into the ducts with a fan while the gaseous refrigerant moves back to the compressor to be shifted into liquid form again.

It’s a delicate process and it depends on a number of details to work properly. Leaking in the refrigerant, problems with the compressor array, blockages in the ducts and a host of other problems can throw that process off. When that happens, ice forms on the coils.

Why Is That a Problem?

In the first place, that ice or frost represents lost cooling potential that should be going into your home. That in and of itself will rob your air conditioner of efficiency and force it to work harder to do its job (raising your monthly bills in the process). Furthermore, the ice forms an insulating barrier between the refrigerant in the coils (however much is left if there’s a leak) and the air it’s trying to cool. That compounds the problem and again forces the system to work harder than it should.

Unless the process is properly addressed, more ice will form, worsening the issue. Eventually, it will cause a full-bore breakdown elsewhere in the system, and turn a comparatively easy correction into a serious (and expensive) problem.

Never attempt to scrape the ice off of the coils yourself or attempt any other corrective measure. In the first place, the issue could spring from a variety of potential sources, and the ice itself is merely a symptom. It will only reform until the core issue is fixed. In the second place, doing so could easily damage the coils themselves, which are very expensive to replace. Instead, the moment you spot the problem, turn off the system and call in a trained professional to diagnose the trouble and conduct repairs the right way.

For quality air conditioning repair in Shawnee, KS, call the friendly experts at MVP Electric, Heating & Cooling today to schedule a proper time!

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