Why Is My Air Conditioner Shooting Out Ice?

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Updated May 18, 2023

A premium air conditioner should last for years, but finding chunks of ice inside the AC unit requires immediate attention. Poor maintenance and broken parts commonly cause ice buildup on evaporator or condenser coils, whether you have a window unit or a central air conditioning system. Luckily, thawing an air conditioner unit isn’t an expensive repair in most cases. Stick around to discover the basic answers to, “Why is my AC spitting out ice?”


  • You should immediately turn off a frozen air conditioning system to avoid unnecessary wear or breakage.
  • Low refrigerant levels and lack of airflow are the primary reasons for the buildup of frost on an AC.
  • A dirty evaporator coil or outdoor unit interferes with the typical heat exchange, causing a frozen AC.

Why is there a Buildup of Ice on My AC Coil?

If you’re wondering why your window air conditioning unit is freezing up or why the air conditioner is blowing hot air, there is a clear issue with your unit. Or, if your air conditioner shuts off by itself, that’s another problem, but at least it’s not spitting ice. That said, you shouldn’t need professional service to spot the cause of a frozen coil, even on a top-rated 15000 BTU window air conditioner.

Insider Tip

You can clean a dirty coil with soap and water, but experts recommend white vinegar for a clogged condensate drain.

Refrigerant Leak

If, in addition to seeing built-up frost, a refrigerant leak makes a sound that will have you asking, “Why does my AC hiss?” This noise is a cause for concern because AC coolant works in a closed system, and correcting a refrigerant leak requires an AC technician.

Dirty Air Filter

You must change your AC air filters every three to six months. You may want to change it more frequently if you have pets or multiple people in the house. A clogged AC filter disrupts the airflow over the evaporator coils, causing them to get too cold.

Dirty Evaporator Coil

An evaporator coil covered in dirt and grime cannot adequately pull heat from the air. Since the warm air cannot efficiently contact the coils, they get too cold, causing frost to build inside the AC unit. If you just thought to yourself, “What does an evaporator coil do?”, be sure to brush up on how they function first to understand why they’re so important to maintain.


Homeowners must contact an AC repair service for a refrigerant charge because unlicensed handling of Freon refrigerant is illegal.

Bad Fan

The fan motor forces the warm air from your home into the cooling process. The fan motor may suffer electrical or mechanical failures, but a loose fan will lose efficiency. A broken or loose fan requires professional intervention unless you’re an experienced electrician.

STAT: A 2020 US EIA (Energy Information Agency) survey showed that 50.7% of American renters have central air conditioning. (source)

Why Is My AC Spitting Out Ice FAQs

What does “EP” mean on the air conditioner display?

EP is an error code found on modern GE air conditioners. This code signals a bad thermostat sensor, and your system may run erratically or for too long.

Why is my AC spitting water?

Condensation from the evaporator coil, called condensate, drips into a drip pan and leaves the AC through the condensate drain. The drain can clog with dirt, mold, and algae that builds due to bad maintenance habits. Without a functioning drain, the condensation from the evaporator coil will leak from the AC unit.

How long does an air conditioning system last?

Depending on your AC unit type and maintenance habits, your air conditioning system should last between 5 and 20 years. A central system should last about 10 to 20 years, while a window unit will last between 8 and 10 years.
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