Diagnosing A Frosty Air Conditioner

When the temperatures go up, you become a lot more dependent on your air conditioner. If a problem arises, it’s a good idea to have it checked out before you find yourself without the services of the unit. Many air conditioners can develop a variety of issues and among the most common is the accumulation of frost.

But this isn’t always obvious to many homeowners who believe that a little frost along the exterior of the unit or coating a pipe or two is normal. After all, the air conditioner is designed to produce cold air, so a little frost is to be expected, right?

Wrong. Even a little layer of frost is a sure indication that the air conditioner is not working correctly and you must take steps to address the problem. Don’t put it off either, you must maintain your air conditioner if you want to be ready when you need it most.

Avoid kicking yourself in the dead of summer when the inside of your home is nearing 90 degrees and you wish you had Virginia’s top rated propane delivery service take a look at your AC unit when you knew you had a problem.

The Dangers of Frost

Even a little frost and ice is bad for your system and if you detect any whatsoever on the exterior of your unit, it’s a bad idea to keep running your air conditioner. That’s because allowing frost to develop along any of the components could cause some serious damage and you could be facing a costly repair or replacement bill in the near future.

You must not jeopardize your expensive HVAC system by neglecting urgent problems like frost. It’s best to diagnose this issue as quickly as you can. In an effort to help homeowners figure out why their air conditioner is getting frosty, we’ve put together some of the most common causes that should be examined so the proper solution can be implemented to fix the problem.

Common Reasons for Frost


So what makes frost develop along the exterior of your unit? Glad you asked, as there could be any number of reasons why your air conditioner is malfunctioning and you are seeing a layer of ice accumulating on your components.

Airflow Blockage

Every air conditioner needs proper airflow in order to operate properly and when that circulation is obstructed for any reason, that can result in water freezing to the evaporator coil and the temperature in the coil to fall below the freezing point.

The airflow in your HVAC system can be cut off as a result of many potential diagnoses. The most common of these is a dirty air filter. So many homeowners damage their systems because they neglect their air filters. The filter is designed to remove debris and particulate from the air that goes through the air conditioner unit and those contaminants can collect in a brief period of time.

Replacing the air filter is critical for maintaining your system properly and when it gets too dirty, the airflow is impeded. So be sure to swap out the filter every two to three months. If you use the system with heavy regularity, then replace it sooner than later.

Low Temperatures

Sure you may not be running your air conditioner when it’s chilly out but you never know when you might need to operate the HVAC system. Frost can develop on your unit when the outdoor temperatures fall to 60 degrees or lower. But when it gets that chilly outside, you probably want to avoid using your air conditioner anyway and opening the windows to let that cool fresh air inside.

If you discover that your air conditioner is getting frosty at night, you may want to shut it down until the sun comes up again in the morning. That way you know you’re protecting your air conditioner from potential long-term damage and you’re probably saving a few bucks on your electricity bills in the process.

Low Refrigerant Level

Air conditioners require plenty of refrigerant in order to work correctly when there isn’t enough in the system, that can lead to a heated situation. That’s because a lack of refrigerant means that the system doesn’t absorb proper heat levels and the system starts to freeze.

Here’s the biggest issue however, refrigerant doesn’t really get consumed. It remains at the same level unless the HVAC system is compromised in some capacity. That could mean you have a leak of some kind and that would need to be fixed as soon as possible.