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Air Conditioning Frostbite

While the appearance of icicles on your AC unit during the peak of summer heat may seem like a comforting sight, you’d be surprised to learn that this is not a good sign. Ice crystals should never appear on your air conditioner. It is an indicator that your system is working too hard to compensate, and it’s likely that the problem will only get worse. Over time, the ice will limit your unit’s cooling ability, and ultimately, could lead to AC failure.

icicles on AC unit

The good news is that this is an easily fixed problem with the help of an HVAC professional. We offer a free diagnostic to confirm the status of your system and will provide you with a number of options for repair.

To help you best understand the components of your system and how it operates, we’ve broken down the sources of AC frostbite, so you can speak knowledgeably about the problem.

Sources of AC frostbite:

Dust, dirt, and grime that enter via the cabinet will gradually coat your coil and keep it from absorbing heat. Therefore, ice forms as a result of the coil being kept too cold. This is an example of why regular maintenance is essential to the health of your system. In this scenario, a visit from your technician will be required, as you cannot clean your coil yourself.

Clogged air filters are the most common sources of AC frostbite. Their sole purpose is to keep debris from entering your unit, and as described above, debris keeps your coil artificially cool, which leads to the formation of ice crystals. By changing your filters once a month during the summer, you can avoid this problem and a host of other air quality issues.

Depleted refrigerant due to a leak will cause the evaporator coil to lose its heat absorption properties. The remaining refrigerant will stay artificially cool, similar to the result of debris buildup and a clogged filter, and will damage your compressor. This is the most potentially damaging source of AC frostbite because a damaged compressor could mean replacing your entire air conditioner.

Keeping these sources of frostbite in mind during the hottest months of the year will help you to better maintain your AC. Additionally, it will also allow you to identify signs of frostbite before they cause a larger, more expensive problem. Don’t hesitate to call us at (949) 245-6320 with any questions or concerns, or request a free diagnostic online !