Iced Over Condenser Coil: What To Do About The Igloo In Your AC Unit

Have you noticed ice forming on the condenser coil of your air conditioning system? If so, prompt troubleshooting or repair is important to ensure that your AC does not become severely damaged. The condenser coil in your system is a heat exchanger. In a normal system, the coil gets cool, but it does not freeze or accumulate ice. When there is a malfunction of the coil present, ice accumulation occurs, and if the issue is not addressed, it will get progressively worse. The ice formation is not a matter that will rectify itself, and in severe cases, a block of ice will encase the condenser coil.

Immediate Action to Take

The most important thing you can do when you determine that there is ice on the condenser coil is turn off your air conditioner. Warm air will aid in melting the ice that has formed. You can expedite the melting process by turning your thermostat to the fan only setting. If the air flow is low or nonexistent when the fan only setting is turned on, your blower or the belt may be damaged. 

Keep in mind that as the ice melts, it is going to drip, and you may have copious amount of water. Prepare ahead by having buckets, containers, a mop and towels handy, because the excess water could cause water damage. 

Dirt and Dust

Dirt and dust accumulation on the coil are two culprits that can cause freezing. Cleaning this type of debris is something that should be referred to an HVAC contractor. Keeping your annual AC maintenance appointments will aid in reducing the chances of dirt and dust causing the coil to freeze. Contractors generally include coil inspection and cleaning as part of the maintenance. 

Dirty AC filters can also affect coil performance and result in the coil freezing. After the ice has melted, change the filter to see if it improves the performance. If the coil ices over again, it is indicative that another issue is causing the coil to freeze. 

The presence of dirt and dust on other portions of your system could also result in your condenser coil freezing. For example, dirt accumulation on the blower could be forcing dirt to settle on the coil. 


This is another possible reason that your condenser coil continues to freeze. When the levels of coolant in the system are low, icing may occur. The levels could be low due to your system not getting serviced, but low levels could also be the result of a leak in the system. 

Final Thoughts

The initial process of condenser coil troubleshooting is easy for the average homeowner to complete. An air conditioning repair contractor is the best resource to use for condenser coil issues that recur though.