Why There’s Ice on Your Air Conditioner?

With the Denver summer weather in full swing, your A/C is working overtime to keep you cool and comfortable. You would like to rely on your A/C to last all summer long unfortunately, unexpected issues can happen. When someone calls in with A/C issues the first thing we usually ask is “Are there signs of ice around your unit?”. We ask this because freezing is one of the most common issues your A/C can have, and here are a few things you can do before calling to book an appointment.


What are the signs of freezing?

There are subtle signs of freezing and then more obvious ones. An obvious sign of freezing is visible ice on the outside of the air conditioning unit, the lines, or the coil inside. If there is no ice outside the unit follow the manufacturer’s instructions on opening up the unit’s panel and look at the cooling coils as there may be ice there; the system may still be frozen even if you do not see ice there. Another way to tell if the unit is frozen is to feel the air coming out of the supply registers; if it feels warm, your unit may be frozen. If your air conditioner is not working and you see no signs of freezing it is time to call a professional. They can help you determine the center of the issue.

Why does your A/C unit freeze up?

The most common reasons an A/C unit will freeze up in the hot Denver months are poor airflow and low refrigerant pressure. These issues are easy to diagnose. When a filter, ductwork, or vent gets clogged, airflow is restricted and can cause moisture build-up on the coils. Another common issue is leaking refrigerant. Leaking refrigerant is a symptom of a defective part as your A/C system is sealed and should not leak refrigerant. Both of these issues will result in ice on your unit and cause it to freeze up. If you see signs of this, immediately turn off your unit so it can thaw out. The ice on your air conditioner may also be a symptom of a much larger issue. The life span of a system is around 15 years. As your system ages, major issues can begin to occur.


What should you do when this happens?

We advise the Denver customer to turn off their systems for 24 hours and turn it to the fan setting for several hours. It is crucial that the A/C thaw. Letting it thaw will help to prevent further damage. Also, our technicians cannot work on the unit until it is clear of ice. We also suggest customers check their filters. As previously mentioned, the issue may be a result of poor airflow, and changing it may be the simple solution if your filter is clogged with debris. After the unit is off, make sure there are plenty of towels on the floor around the unit. There will be some water leakage as the ice melts. After you finish with these measures, we recommend making an appointment as soon as possible so an experienced technician can make sure your unit is in proper running condition and diagnose what caused the issue to begin with.

Tips and Tricks for Homeowners:

· Change the air filter with a thin non-pleated filter at least every 30 days.

· Keep your thermostat temperature at no less than 15 degrees less than the external temperature. 

· Schedule your unit to get serviced every Spring so it is clean and ready to go for the hot Summer months.

· If you see ice, turn off the A/C and keep your fan in the on position, then give us a call so we can get a technician to your house. 

· Make sure your disconnect switch and breakers are all in the on position.