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Serving Panama City, FL

Serving Panama City, FL


Parker Services Inc Blog

Should Ice Appear on My Air Conditioner?


This is a question we often hear from customers. In fact, it’s one of the most frequently asked questions people have about their air conditioners. 

Because an air conditioner does the job of sending cooled air into a space, air that often feels like it’s just been chilled with ice, people often make the assumption that ice is a part of how an AC runs. When ice starts to form on an AC unit, it must mean the system is working extremely well, right?

No, not at all. The simple answer to the question in the title of the post is “no.” If you notice ice on your AC, something is wrong and you need to call professionals to repair your air conditioning in Panama City, FL.

If you’d like to know more about why ice may form on an air conditioner and why it’s a bad sign, follow us below.

An Air Conditioner Doesn’t Use Ice to Cool

If you send air across ice, the air will feel colder afterward as a result of evaporative cooling, which means the air loses some of its heat to the colder ice. But an air conditioner doesn’t use ice for its cooling process. The amount of energy necessary to lower the temperature of water to turn it into ice is far too much to make this an energy-efficient process for home cooling.

Instead, an air conditioner uses refrigerant, a chemical blend that easily switches between gaseous and liquid state, to draw heat from the air. Cold refrigerant moves through an indoor evaporator coil and absorbs heat from the air through evaporation. The heated refrigerant then releases this absorbed heat outdoors through condensation. This is called heat exchange and it allows an AC to efficiently deliver cooled air indoors.

Why Ice May Start to Form

If ice starts to form on an air conditioner, usually along the evaporator coil, it means something has interfered with normal heat exchange. For some reason, the cold refrigerant in the evaporator coil isn’t absorbing enough heat from the air, which leaves the refrigerant at a low enough temperature that water will start to freeze along the coil’s surface.

This moisture is a natural part of heat absorption, but if the coil remains too cold, it’ll turn into ice. Once ice starts to form, it further restricts the coil from absorbing heat, causing the problem to worsen.

There are several reasons the coil may lose its heat absorption abilities. Loss of refrigerant to leaks is one of the most common. This is an urgent problem because low refrigerant will eventually cause the compressor to burn out.

The coil may also have a layer of dirt and grime over it, which restricts how well it can absorb heat. The air conditioner may have low airflow moving through it because of a broken blower fan or clogged air filter. If not enough warm air can move across the coil because of airflow issues, the coil won’t heat up.

You must have professionals handle fixing ice on an AC. Don’t try to scrape the ice off yourself. HVAC pros will solve the underlying issue and then defrost your AC. 

Call on Parker Services, Inc for your air conditioning needs in Panama City. Comfort’s just a call away!

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