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Why Window Air Conditioners Ice Up
By Donald Grummett
One of the most frustrating problems with a window air conditioner is if it starts to ice up. For the owner of the air conditioner is can be perplexing.
When this problem occurs most people immediately think it is the fault of the refrigerant gas. More often the cause is the result of other difficulties.
It is most often the result of poor airflow.
Any time the airflow through an air conditioner is restricted the cooling system becomes affected. If taken to extremes the critical pressure-temperature balance of the cooling coil can be changed. If they drop too low the cooling coils surface temperature can drop below the dew point temperature of the room. When this happens the cooling coil will begin to operate as a refrigerator rather than an air conditioner. Rather than simply cooling the air it will collect and hold moisture. The moisture will freeze onto the cooling coil where it will appear as ice.
The primary job of an air conditioner is to de-humidify, not refrigerate, the room air. By removing the moisture from the room air it gives us a feeling of comfort. To do this though the temperature of the cooling coil must always be higher than the room’s dew point. If it is allowed to drop below the dew point the air conditioner will start to produce ice.
With this information in mind the following are a few problems that can result in your air conditioner icing up:
Copyright 2007 by Donald Grummett. All right reserved. Donald Grummett has been in the trade over 30 years as a technician, business owner, and technical trainer. Visit MG Services to learn more invaluable information about your appliances.
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Last Modified: 24 March 2020
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