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There’s Ice on My AC Coil, But the Filters Are Clean—What’s Wrong?


Regularly cleaning the filter on your HVAC system, usually every 1 to 3 months, is an important part of helping the system to work its best. If the filter becomes clogged, it can cause malfunctions in the system. One of the consequences of a clogged filter is that it will cause the evaporator coil in the air conditioner to freeze over. This happens because the lack of warm air moving over the coil leaves the refrigerant inside the coil too cold. The extra cold causes moisture along the coil to turn to ice.

If you take special care to see that the filter is changed and cleaned on a regular basis, but ice still starts to appear on the air conditioner’s coil, then you may have a more serious problem in the AC.

What might be wrong

The most likely culprit behind ice along the coil when the filter is clean is a drop in refrigerant charge. The refrigerant in an air conditioner is supposed to remain at the same charge for the system’s lifetime. (An AC doesn’t consume refrigerant as if it were fuel; the refrigerant changes back and forth between liquid and gaseous form without dissipating.) The only way for an air conditioner to lose refrigerant is through leaks—but these are unfortunately a common occurrence in many air conditioners over 5 years old.

The reduced amount of refrigerant means that the evaporator coil absorbs less heat, leaving the remaining refrigerant at a lower temperature than normal. This will trigger the development of ice. But this is only one problem that refrigerant leaks will cause. If left without repairs, the reduced refrigerant will cause damage to the compressor and it may eventually burn out.

When you see ice on your air conditioner, call for professional AC repair technicians right away. They’ll find the leaks, seal them, and recharge the refrigerant to its proper level. They’ll also take care of defrosting the frozen coil without damaging it.

Raleigh Heating & Air, Inc. provides air conditioning service to Apex, NC and throughout Wake County and the surrounding areas. We have the finest people in the industry and every co-worker here is inspired to elevate your experience.

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