What It Means and What to Do If Your Air Conditioner Is a Block Of Ice
It sounds surreal for sure, but air conditioners can freeze up in the warmest of weather. Knowing the symptoms, causes, and solutions for this type of problem can prevent it from occurring.
It's ironic, but the first thing you'll notice if your air conditioner has frozen will be the lack of cool air coming from the vents. When the pipes in the air conditioner freeze, the ice blocks the cool air from reaching its destination, leaving only warm air to come out of the vents. Your air conditioner may be running full time without effectively cooling your home.
Another more obvious sign that your air conditioner has frozen will be the presence of frost and ice on your air conditioner's pipes. When this happens, ice forms both inside and outside the AC on the copper pipes that feed the system.
Ice can form if your air conditioner is running too hard and too often, without a break. There are a variety of reasons that this may happen, including:
- Your air conditioner has a dirty air filter.
- The size of the vents are too small.
- The refrigerant levels in your air conditioner are too low.
- The vents are blocked.
All of these problems can cause your air conditioner to work too hard to provide adequate cool air to cool your home.
When you notice that the pipes of your air conditioner have frozen, turn off the AC and allow it to thaw out. Continuing to run the air conditioner will make the problem worse by causing more ice to form. If the ice is located indoors, lay buckets or towels beneath the pipes while the ice thaws. Check back every few hours to change the towels or empty the buckets. Depending on how much ice has formed, thawing the pipes may take several hours or even a full day.
While the ice is melting, check your vents for blocked airways. Sometimes foreign objects inside the vents, like toys or tools, can be the source of the problem. If the vents are clear, inspect your air filter. If the air filter is dirty or if the registers in your home are blocked, this could be source of the problem. If all the registers are free of obstructions and the air filter is clean, your problem could be the refrigerant levels. If this is the case, contact an air conditioning repair professional at a company such as Cape Fear Air Conditioning & Heating Co., Inc.