Have you noticed your AC freezing or forming ice? It's not something that's supposed to happen. It's typically an indication of a problem. There's a few possibilities when it comes to why your air-conditioner is developing ice. This applies to central air, split systems, and even window units.
1. Dirt and Debris Buildup in Your HVAC System
Dirt and debris buildup anywhere in your AC or HVAC components can block airflow. That lack of airflow can lead to your AC coils not working as they should. This leads to freezing.
Here are the places you need to look out for to check for dirt, debris, and obstructions. Before you do, turn off your AC and let it defrost.
Air filters – Check your air filters. Clean or swap them out as needed.
Coils – Check the evaporator coils for signs of dirt and dust. Clean them routinely.
Registers and vents – Make sure your registers and vents aren't blocked, or overly cluttered with dust, dirt, and debris. You can also pull the covers to see if your ducts have an undue amount of dirt and dust in them. If they do, you may need a professional to clean them out or check your ductwork for damage.
For window units, you can take off the front covering or find where the filter sits. You should consult the manufacturer's website or your instruction booklet for tips on how to clean your particular AC.
All of these things focus on airflow. Giving your AC a routine check and cleaning can help alleviate many potential problems, not just this particular one. Even though you can do these things yourself, you can use an AC maintenance service to ensure your AC remains in good condition.
2. A Lack of Refrigerant or Other Refrigerant Problems
Less refrigerant in your system can lead to your system freezing. Low refrigerant creates low pressure. This causes the refrigerant to expand more than normal, which creates a cooler temperature for your evaporator coils. Eventually, the coils start freezing, which causes the air around them to freeze as well.
Low refrigerant can indicate a coolant leak. While an AC maintenance service can fill your refrigerant back up, it won't solve the problem. You will need that leak repaired, or you will need to invest in a new AC. Refrigerant leaks only cause issues to grow over time.
Your AC will work harder and harder to make up the difference. If left for too long, other components of your AC unit or system will also start to break down. You will definitely feel the AC growing weaker over time. You will also see higher utility bills.
3. A Small or Large Mechanical Failure
Your AC can suffer from a mechanical failure. This can include things like a broken fan motor or a bent refrigerant line. Blocked airflow sometimes occurs from mechanical failures.
One or another of your AC components may need repair before your AC can perform as it should. If you clean your unit or system, and find the freezing problem still occurs, then it's an issue that requires a professional AC service.