Too Much Of A Cold Thing—What To Do When AC Evaporator Coils Ice Over

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The key component in your AC unit is refrigerant. Your AC will use a fan to push the hot air inside your home over the evaporator coils. The hot air will cause the refrigerant to vaporize, and as it does, it will absorb heat from the air, and thus cool the air inside your home. At least, this is how it is supposed to work. But what do you do if your evaporator coils start to ice over?

What Causes Coils to Ice Over?

There are several things that can cause your coils to freeze over, but basically it comes back to the same problem—lack of airflow. Your unit will not be able to push enough air over the evaporator coils, and they will cool the air to the point that the water vapor in the air freezes and sticks to the coils. This ice will block airflow all together, which will prevent the AC from cooling your home at all.

How to Deal with the Ice

When you find ice on your coils, the first thing you need to do is remove the ice. Follow these steps:

1. Turn the switch on your thermostat to the "off" position.

2. Once the evaporator coils stop running, the ice will start to melt. 

3. Place towels and buckets under the coils to collect the water created when the ice starts to melt. 

4. Do not chip at the ice because this could damage the coils. If you feel the need to accelerate the melting process, you can use a hair dryer. 

How to Remedy the Problem

Once you have de-iced your evaporator coils, you need to figure out what caused the problem in the first place. Follow these steps to troubleshoot your AC unit:

1. Check your filter. If your AC filter is severely clogged, it will prevent air from getting to your coils. 

2. Turn the switch on your thermostat back to the "on" position and check to make sure the fan is running. If it is not, you will have to call a technician to make repairs. 

3. If your fan is running, you could possibly have a leak in your coolant system. Again, you need to call a technician to make repairs. 

Cooling is a good thing, but too much cooling is not. If ice takes over your AC system, you can at the very least start the repairs on your own. Then contact a professional HVAC company like D & W Heating & Air Conditioning Inc.