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Polar Bear Air Conditioning & Heating Inc. Blog

What Causes an AC to Freeze Up?

At first thought, a freezing air conditioner may not sound like that big of a problem. After all, you want your AC to be cooling your home, right? Of course you do–but remember that there is a huge difference between an air conditioner and a freezer. Your air conditioner should be removing heat from the air in your home and recirculating that air back into the living space at a lower temperature. At no point should it be freezing up, though.

Not only is ice on an air conditioner not a sign that it is working better than expected, but it is actually a sign that the system is not working the way that it ought to. If you see ice on your system, it is a sign of trouble. As is the case with any sign of trouble with your air conditioner in Georgetown, WA, you are going to need to act quickly if you really want to protect your AC from potentially serious damages. 

Its the Condensation on the Coil

One common question that we hear from homeowners is what exactly is freezing on the system. It’s not like there is a water supply line in the air conditioner that may have burst, right? Well, the answer is probably condensation. Remember, as your air conditioner runs, its true objective is cooling your home down. However, it will also dehumidify the air somewhat as it runs. That results in condensation collecting on the coil, and a very cold coil means that this condensation can freeze up and generate ice. When that happens, even if it is a thin layer, your system is in trouble.

But Why Does the Coil Get that Cold?

There are a few reasons as to why the coil in your air conditioner may get cold enough to freeze the condensation that collects on it. First of all, it could be the result of a very dirty air filter. If your air filter is really dirty, then it can restrict airflow to the point that your air conditioner is not able to remove a sufficient amount of heat from the air. Then it will get very cold and it can cause the moisture on the coil to freeze.

Much the same happens if and when the coil itself gets too dirty. It can collect pollutants, and the layer of grime can insulate the coil from the air. When that happens, the coil is not going to be able to absorb enough heat from the air, either. Again, ice can develop, resulting in a further insulating layer that is only going to serve to exacerbate the problem.

Finally, there is the most serious issue that can lead to icing up: refrigerant leaks. If your air conditioning system is low on refrigerant, it is almost surely due to leaks. The system does not consume refrigerant, remember. If there is not enough refrigerant in the system, you guessed it: not enough heat absorption. Be sure to contact us if you have any reason to believe that your system is leaking refrigerant.

Schedule your AC services with Polar Bear Air Conditioning & Heating Inc.

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