When you go outside in the warm months and see ice all over your air conditioner, it's normal to be a bit confused and worried. For one thing, it's warm outside, so the appearance of ice on something that is sitting outside can be perplexing. For another thing, when your air conditioner ices over, it often stops working well, too. So what could be causing this ice buildup, and what repairs might your air conditioner need? Here are a few of the top possibilities.
One possibility is that there is a blockage somewhere in the ducts that carry the air-conditioned air into your home. In this case, the blockage would keep the cool air from moving out of the AC system fast enough, which would cause the "coldness" to build up on the unit to the point that it becomes icy. Luckily, most duct obstructions are not hard to remove, but this does need to be done by a professional since specific equipment is needed. The obstruction could be anything from a bird's nest to lots of mold growth. It may not be a total obstruction, which is why some cold air may still be coming through the vents in your home.
Another possibility is that your air conditioner filter is clogged. This happens a lot because homeowners often forget that they need to replace the filter every month. When the filter gets too clogged with debris and dirt, the air stops flowing through it, and then your air conditioner is likely to start hyper-cooling and building up ice. Luckily, this is an issue you can fix yourself. Pull out the old filter, and put a new one in its place. Turn the AC off long enough for the ice buildup to melt, and then turn it back on again. If the filter was the problem, it should now be fixed.
Leaking Refrigerant Coil
It's also possible that your refrigerant coil is leaking refrigerant. When this happens, the remaining refrigerant expands too much and gets too cold, which leads to the ice buildup. A refrigerant leak is a much bigger problem than the other issues presented in this article. It needs to be fixed by a professional HVAC contractor, who will then need to inject some more refrigerant into the coil. This must be done in line with certain environmental requirements since refrigerant is a contaminant.
If you go outside and see ice on your AC unit on a hot day, don't be too shocked. This is a pretty common problem, and regardless of the cause, it is fixable. For more information about air conditioning repair, contact a local HVAC company, like Edelman Inc.
A few years ago, I could tell that we were having serious furnace problems. In addition to dealing with a house that was constantly too cold or too warm, we were also plagued by a noisy, smelly furnace that seemed to have trouble on a daily basis. Unfortunately, I didn't know enough about furnaces at the time to spot the problems quickly. One day, the entire system died, and it was beyond repair. After having that experience, I learned a lot about HVAC systems, so that I could troubleshoot future systems. This website is all about teaching you what you need to know so that you don't end up in the same situation.