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Ice Belongs in Your Drink, Not on Your Air Conditioner

Jul. 11, 2013
During these hottest weeks of the year, a danger you never would’ve thought of lurks in your air conditioner’s evaporator coil: ice.  It’s the single most common problem with air conditioners during the cooling season. 

How do you know your air conditioner is frozen and not malfunctioning in some other way?  Check the pipe on your outdoor unit for ice.  If the unit is frozen, there will be a thick coating on the pipe.  Your indoor unit may also be wet due to the ice on the evaporator coil.

Why would ice develop during the summer?  There are a few reasons this happens:
  • The most common cause is that your system is low on refrigerant.
  • There isn’t allowing good enough airflow due to a dirty air filter, a dirty evaporator coil, he ducts are simply not big enough, or other restrictions.
  • Your thermostat is set too low at night when the outside air is cool.
What do you do if this happens?
  • Turn off the air conditioner using your thermostat.
If you feel comfortable with the next steps, try them.  If not, go ahead and call a professional, just to be on the safe side.  A quick service call is considerably less expensive than a repair bill if you inadvertently cause more damage.
  • Turn off your aif conditioner
  • Take the cover off your indoor unit and look for ice. Don’t touch anything, especially if there is ice.  Just let it thaw.
  • Check your filter; if it’s wet the evaporator coil is melting and the water is going places it shouldn’t.
  • Switch your thermostat’s fan On, but do not turn on the air conditioning.  This helps the coil thaw faster, but it will still take a few hours.  If there is any ice on the inside unit, it’s time to get some towels.
  • Once the ice has all melted, replace your air filter and turn the unit back on.
  • Watch for new ice to form.   If it does, it’s time to call a professional if you haven’t already.  Repeated icing can cause permanent damage.
  • If the house doesn’t cool off within an hour or two, switch the air conditioner back to Off and call a professional.
Avoid this type of air conditioning emergency and have your air conditioner system checked and maintained annually in each cooling season.  A technician will look for any potential issues, such as ensuring the level of refrigerant is correct and your air conditioner is able to pull in enough air to operate properly..
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Thornton & Grooms
24565 Hallwood Ct
Farmington Hills, MI 48335
(248) 644-7810
MI Plumbing Lic. #: 8106666
MI Contractors Lic. #: 7100232
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