Frost on The Coils Spells Trouble for your AC

ice-on-acYou may have spotted frost on the coils of your air conditioner before while giving the system a look. Most people don’t think much of it. It seems quite logical, after all, since air conditioners are supposed to cool the air. Unfortunately, the presence of frost or ice on the coils is the symptom of a much larger problem that could come back to bite you if you let it. With summer on its way and your air conditioning system called upon increasingly often, now is the time to address this significant problem with your AC.

Why Is It a Problem?

The evaporator coils are where pressurized refrigerant shifts from liquid form into gaseous form. As it does so, it pulls heat from the surrounding air, which can then be blown into your home through the ducts. When ice forms on the coils, however, that process is disrupted. The ice itself represents lost cooling potential, which should be going into your home but is instead stuck in the system. Even worse, the ice forms an insulating barrier between the refrigerant and the air it needs to cool.

As a result, the system must work harder to cool the air in your home, which not only raises your monthly bills, but adds strain to other components: increasing the risk of a breakdown. And the problem tends to get worse as time goes one. The existing frost leads to more frost and ice, decreasing the system’s cooling power more and more until a full-bore breakdown takes place. Considering that another hot summer is on the way, that could spell a serious repair job in the middle of a heat wave.

What Causes It?

There are a number of potential causes of frost forming on the coils, which can include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Leaking refrigerant, which throws off the delicate balance required to run the system.
  • Dirty components such as air filters or the coils themselves.
  • Blocked ductwork, causing the cool air to back up into the system.
  • A faulty fan motor, a problem with the fan belt or broken fan blades.
  • Excess humidity or problems with the condensate drain system.

This is one of the reasons why a trained technician is needed to properly diagnose a problem with icy coils. Simply scraping the ice off won’t work, since the ice will just re-form, and doing so may also damage the coils (turning a simple repair or cleaning into a very expensive operation).

Fixing the issue properly means proper training and licensing. Refrigerant is dangerous if handled improperly and other components in the air conditioner are extremely delicate. If you notice frost on the coils of your system, turn it off immediately and call for a repair service. Even if you don’t spot frost on the coils, many of the issues that lead to this condition can be avoided with a timely maintenance session conducted once each spring.

Contact the professionals at The Clean Air Act for timely AC repair services in Beaverton, OR.

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