When you see ice on your air conditioner, this is a sign of a major problem. When major problems occur it is important to properly react to the situation to prevent escalating issues. Sometimes the reason why an air conditioner will freeze may require a simple fix which a homeowner can perform. Other times the ice may be a result of a bigger problem that needs to be repaired by a professional HVAC technician. Hal Mechanical will walk you through the steps of how to respond to ice on your air conditioner and when to contact a professional HVAC service.
Step 1. Turn Off AC Unit to Defrost
The first step when you first notice the air conditioner has ice on it, is to quickly turn off the air conditioner. By turning off the air conditioner you will allow the ice to thaw out. Failure to turn off the air conditioner can lead to major component replacement such as the compressor motor. You do not want to turn the air conditioning back on until you walk through a few troubleshooting steps and until the ice is fully thawed out.
Step 2. Troubleshooting Why Air Conditioner is Freezing Up
While the ice thaws you will want to begin troubleshooting the cause. The first and easiest step for the homeowners is to check the air filters. Yes, the air filter can cause the air conditioner to freeze. This is because an air flow restriction can cause the air conditioner to run a longer cooling cycle. The longer the cooling cycle, the more time the condensation has to freeze. Next, look for other possible air flow restrictions. Make such all of the air vents are open and are not being restricted in any way. If the vents are all fully opened and are not obstructed, you may want to check the evaporator coils. The evaporator coils can become very dirty over time, which can cause longer cooling cycles and ice. However, if the coils are dirty, it is strongly encouraged to have a professional clean the coils as they can be damaged very easily. If the evaporators look clean then you most likely have a refrigerant leak. A refrigerant leak must be repaired and the refrigerant recharged by an HVAC technician. If you cannot find the cause of the ice, it is most likely due to a refrigerant leak.
Step 3. Contact an HVAC Company & Stay Cool
If you determine that you may have a refrigerant leak or need your evaporator coils cleaned, you will want to contact an HVAC company. An HVAC service will come out to your home or business and look for refrigerant leaks and or clean the coils. In the meantime, you will want to look for ways to stay cool. Consider turning on all of your fans. If the day is exceptionally warm, wrap a damp cloth around your neck and or on your forehead. Consider going over to a friend or family member’s home. You can even go out to eat or go shopping until the HVAC service is scheduled to arrive.