When your air conditioner stops cooling your home and you go to check it out, you might be shocked to find ice covering your unit. It's surprising that ice would form on an air conditioner in warm weather, but it is actually a fairly common problem. While you can call an HVAC contractor for emergency repairs, there isn't much he or she can do until the ice thaws and the parts can be accessed. Here's what you can do to deal with the ice problem.
Turn Off Your Air Conditioner
The first thing you want to do is turn off the HVAC system. The refrigerant in the coils is responsible for chilling the condensation that's turning into ice. So shut the system down and new ice will stop forming. Once the build up of ice stops, the ice will start to melt since the air around it is warm.
Use A Blow Dryer
It could take several hours for the ice to melt if there is a lot of it. You can set a fan in front of the AC or use a blow dryer to help melt it faster. If you use a blow dryer, set it on low heat only. If you apply hot air to the frozen pipes in the system, you can crack them. Ice forms anywhere along the HVAC so check for it in the outdoor unit as well as the pipes leading to the indoor unit.
Soak Up Melting Ice
If the indoor unit is iced over, it will make a big mess as it melts if you don't prepare to soak up the water. Place towels on the floor to collect the water and mop the floor every once in a while when puddles form. Be sure your AC unit is kept off, and you may even want to flip off the power switch to be on the safe side. As the ice melts off the coils, dry the AC as best you can with a towel so there are no puddles that pose danger when the contractor comes to work on the unit.
Try Changing The Filter
Different things can cause your AC to ice over. One of them is a clogged filter. If you haven't changed the filter in ages, take a look at it. If it is caked with dust, you may be able to fix your AC problem by simply putting in a new filter. Replace the filter and then turn the AC back on once it is dry. Check that chilled air is coming out of the vents. Watch the unit closely for icing so you can shut if off if ice begins to develop again.
Other problems with an AC need to be repaired by a contractor, especially if it involves repairing refrigerant lines and filling the refrigerant. When you find your AC iced over, check the filter first. If it seems clean, then you should call a contractor and explain the problem. Even though the contractor can't do much with ice on the AC, calling will put you in line for an appointment so you won't have to go without cool air longer than necessary. For more information, go to sites like this one.