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Ice On My HVAC!?

With the recent HOT temperatures, you might think it would be crazy to see ice on your air conditioning unit – but it’s completely possible!

You may see “frost” or “ice” on the outdoor unit because the coil of the heat pump is colder that the air surrounding it and when that air is below freezing, frost or icing will occur, but should melt within 1 ½ hours as this is the timing sequence most defrost controls use to check for this condition in our area.

There also could be insufficient airflow over the evaporator coils. This is usually caused by a dirty or clogged air filter and can often be remedied by a simple change or cleaning of the filter. This is another reason why we recommend the inspection and/or cleaning of your unit 1-2 times a year.

Another common reason for ice build-up on air conditioning units is a low level of refrigerant, which could possibly be caused by a leak in your system. When the refrigerant level drops below the manufacturer’s specification, the temperature of the unit’s evaporator coil will drop too low, causing freezing and ice creation.

Here are some steps to take if you notice ice on your AC unit this Summer!
  1. Turn the air conditioning system off.
  2. If you’re comfortable with it, check your filter and change or clean the filter if it is dirty or clogged. If not, our technicians are happy to come out and take care of it for you.
  3. Allow all of the ice to melt completely. There may be ice on the outdoor unit as well as the main pipe of the indoor unit and the area around it. It may take five or more hours for the ice to completely thaw, but it’s important to leave the system OFF during the entire thawing process.
  4. Once a new filter has been installed, turn your system on again to see if the problem is resolved.
  5. If your unit is not cooling or airflow is not improved, turn the system off again and contact a professional for help.
You DON’T want to:
  • Continue operating the unit. As soon as you see the ice, turn it off!
  • Don’t attempt to replace any refrigerant yourself. You’ll want to have the system checked and any leaks sealed first because if not, adding refrigerant will only be a quick fix.
  • Don’t scrape the ice off! This can damage your system exponentially!
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