At first glance, most homeowners don’t think much of the presence of ice or frost forming on the coils of their air conditioner. After all, aren’t they supposed to be cold? It’s point of fact, however, that frost signals a much deeper problem, and while your system may still function for the time being, eventually it’s going to cause some very serious issues. Understanding why stems from knowing the basics of how your air conditioner works.
REFRIGERANT IS THE KEY
Air conditioners rely on refrigerant circulating in an endless loop to cool the air. The refrigerant starts out in gaseous form before having the heat bled off of it – shifting it to liquid form – while being placed under a great deal of pressure. The heat is released in the outside portion of the air conditioning system, while the pressurized liquid refrigerant moves to the evaporator coils. A set amount is released into the coils, where it shifts back to gaseous form: pulling heat from the nearby air in the process. The cooled air can then be blown into your home through the ducts with a fan, while the gaseous refrigerant returns to the start of the cycle to repeat the process anew.
That relies both on a specific type of refrigerant and a specific amount. (The exact type and amount depend on the make and model of your system.) When that balance it thrown off – if a leak in the system develops, for instance – then ice will form on the coils. Frost and ice can also form if there’s excessive dirt on the coils, if your fan or fan motor are experiencing problems, or if the system is experiencing any one of a plethora of issues.
WHY IS THAT A PROBLEM?
Frost or ice on the coils constitutes an issue because it constitutes lost cooling potential, for starters. That means it will have to work harder to do its job: raising both your monthly bills and the strain on the remaining AC components in the process. More importantly, it forms an insulating barrier between the remaining refrigerant and the air it’s intended to cool. That can raise the bills even further as the air conditioner works even harder to overcome the deficit.
Worst of all, the process will only get worse as time goes on. More ice will form, the system’s cooling potential will drop further, and strain on the entire system will continue to increase. Eventually, that will result in a breakdown somewhere in the system, unless a trained technician isolates the cause of the frost on the coils and instigates proper repairs.
Under no circumstances should you attempt to scrape the ice off of the coils yourself. In the first case, it won’t solve the problem. The ice will quickly reform until the underlying cause of the issue is treated. More importantly, you will likely damage the coils in the process. While most issues creating ice on the coils can be resolved quickly and comparatively inexpensively, a damaged coil will cost a great deal more to get fixed. Instead, if you spot ice or frost in your system, turn it off and call a qualified repair service immediately.
For air conditioning repair services in Belmont, NC, call FSM Heat & Air today.