It can be common for air conditioners to have a buildup of ice, although many homeowners don’t know this. The buildup occurs because of the way an air conditioner works. Contrary to what many people think, your unit doesn’t produce cold air. Instead, it takes in the air that exists in a room, cools it down, and recirculates it.
If you find your unit has a buildup of ice, you can hire AC repair services. On the other hand, you can also fix the issue yourself. Before you do that, however, you should know what you’re looking for in the first place and what things you can do to prevent another ice buildup in your AC.
Spotting Ice Buildup
Every air conditioning unit has a liquid refrigerant that passes through an expansion valve where it turns into vapor, and then through an evaporator coil. The coil is what leads the refrigerant to a room’s air so that it can absorb the heat. Once the air is cool, the coil directs it back to the room, but not before some of the moisture in the air condenses into liquid.
If there isn’t enough refrigerant or air passing through the coil, the surrounding moisture could freeze around it, leading to ice buildup. So what you’re looking for is a light dusting of frost around the evaporator coil. If that layer of frost builds up, it could affect the performance of your unit, causing continuous restarting in your unit’s compressor.
How to Fix the Problem
Once you notice a buildup of ice on your air conditioner, you can try a few things before calling in professional AC repair services. First, you have to turn off your unit and turn the fan on. Doing this will help a thin layer of ice thaw out. However, if the layer of ice is too thick, you’ll have to use an external source of heat.
Use a hair dryer or heat gun. When you’re pointing the heat at the layer of ice, make sure you don’t stay in one spot for too long. Maintain constant movement around the buildup to ensure none of your AC’s parts are damaged by the hot air. If that doesn’t work, you may need to hire a professional to evaluate and repair your air conditioner.
How to Prevent Another Ice Buildup
Once you have your issue solved, you want to make sure it doesn’t happen again. To do that, you can hire a regular maintenance service to ensure your unit is in top condition at all times. You can also check on the evaporator and condenser coils yourself to ensure they’re free of dirt, dust, or debris.
If you’re uncomfortable with handling your own unit, you can always hire a professional to do the work for you. It might even be better because they’ll be able to do a thorough inspection and service. An easy task to do, however, is changing your air filter regularly. You can also keep any furniture, rugs, or drapes from blocking the return air intake register.
Ice buildup in your air conditioner is more common than people realize, and it’s nothing to panic about. However, it’s best to get on top of the situation or call in professional AC repair services to evaluate the condition of your air conditioner thoroughly. Regular maintenance can ensure that your unit will work well and keep blowing cold air for many years to come.