Ductless air conditioner spitting out ice cubes

If your ductless air conditioner is spitting out ice cubes, this could be caused by an issue with its airflow, but it can also be fixed and prevented.

Ductless air conditioners offer an efficient and even solution for circulating hot and cold air throughout your house, without using an intricate duct system.

However, the evaporators in these ductless air conditioners can develop issues that may cause your air conditioner to spit out ice cubes, but there are ways to solve and prevent this issue.

What is special about ductless air conditioners?

Ductless air conditioning systems are popular because they can be used to distribute hot and cold air evenly throughout your house, regardless of whether the room has access to your house’s duct system or not.

A ductless air conditioning (AC) system, also known as a mini-split system, comprises of two main parts.

These include the indoor air-handling unit, which is usually mounted to the interior wall, and an outside condenser and compressor, which are connected by refrigerated lines that deliver power and remove condensation.

Some ACs even have multiple inside units which are all connected to the outside part of the system.

Ductless air conditioner spitting out ice cubes

Although it will be quite strange to see your ductless air conditioner suddenly spitting out ice cubes on a warm day, there are various reasons, solutions, and prevention methods for this occurrence.

In order to understand why your air conditioner is forming and then spitting out these ice cubes, you must first understand how the evaporator in your air conditioning unit works.

The evaporator in ductless air conditioners, and most other air conditioners, may be the reason that your unit is creating and expelling cubes. Air conditioners do not create cold air.

The system works by removing heat from the air in your house, and by passing it through an evaporator coil.

If there is an issue somewhere throughout this process, your air conditioner may form ice crystals around these coils, which melt slightly and loosen from the coils when the air conditioner is turned off.

These ice pieces are then spat out with the first gush of air when you switch the unit back on.

There are several issues that can cause this to happen, namely:

  • Air is not flowing past the evaporator coils fast enough because of a physical barrier, which causes the coils to become too cold and freeze up
  • There is already a layer of ice surrounding your coils, because of high humidity levels or because the system is working too hard
  • It could also be that your refrigerant is running low, which means that the hot and cold air is not being moved through the system efficiently

How to know if your ductless air conditioner is forming ice cubes

If you have had the unpleasant experience of your air conditioner expelling ice pieces, it may be very helpful to know what to look for before this happens again in the future.

Although it is fairly normal to have some light freezing on your evaporator coils, you need to take action if you notice big icicles or lines of frost running across these coils.

Other indicators include if your air conditioner is not reaching the temperature that you have set it to, even though it did in the past, or if you are not feeling any air or only warm air when you switch your ductless air conditioner on.

What to do when your air conditioner is spitting out ice

However, when the air conditioning unit has gotten to the point where it is expelling ice, you need to act as soon as possible, by doing the following:

  • Turn your air conditioner off immediately
  • Switch on the fan or use a hair dryer or heat gun to help the evaporator coils thaw out completely
  • Remove the air filter and gently clean it using a soft brush or compressed air
  • Air dry the filter and place it back in the air conditioning unit
Ductless air conditioner spitting out ice cubes Ductless air conditioner spitting out ice cubes
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If the problem persists, you need to contact a professional to refill your refrigerant or to replace your coils.

How to prevent your air conditioner from freezing in the future

To prevent your ductless air conditioner from freezing in the future, it is best to ensure that there is proper airflow throughout the system, which you can do by cleaning and replacing your air filters every four to six weeks.

Regular maintenance by a professional or cleaning the coils using your own soft brush can also help prevent the build-up of dirt and debris on your evaporator coils, and it will keep your system functioning optimally, like it should.

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