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An Early AC Problem to Watch For: Ice on the Indoor Coil

tools-on-ac-unitThe weather is warming up here during last weeks of spring. The hot days are still yet to come as we move toward July, but you can expect to have your air conditioning system hard at work before then.

It’s important to us that you have an AC that will make it through the summer with few problems. Of course, we’re glad to have your business whenever you need air conditioning repairs in Plattsburgh, NY or elsewhere in Northwest Vermont and Northeast New York. But we also want you to enjoy the best in comfort and energy savings, and that means helping you find ways to avoid having to call us for emergency services.

We’ve already written about scheduling air conditioning maintenance. If you’ve had your maintenance inspection and tune-up, you’re off to a great start for the summer. But an AC can still suffer malfunctions, especially a system approaching 10 years of service. Pay close attention to how your cooling system is running during the early summer heat so you can react fast when something starts to go wrong. The sooner you have problems fixed, the better it is for everybody. Our HVAC technicians are here 24/7 to assist.

One Trouble to Look For: Ice on the Evaporator Coil

If you open up your HVAC cabinet to look at the air conditioner, the main part visible is the evaporator coil, which looks like a series of metal fins. As the air conditioner runs, the blower fan draws warm air through the return ducts and air filter, then passes the air over these fins. The cold refrigerant inside the fins evaporates, and this absorbs heat from the air, cooling it so the blower fan can send cool air into the supply ducts to the rest of the house.

What you shouldn’t see on the coil is ice.

People sometimes make the mistake of thinking ice should be a normal part of the air conditioning process. But nothing could be further from the truth. If the evaporator coils starts to frost over, it means the refrigerant in the coil isn’t warming up above freezing—something is preventing the coil from drawing in sufficient heat from the air.

There are a few different possibilities here:

  • The HVAC system’s air filter is clogged: Be sure the change the air filter every 1 to 3 months so the air conditioner doesn’t have to try to pull air from the return ducts through a clogged filter. A drop in the amount of warm air can lead to the coil freezing.
  • The coil has dust and grime on it: Any dirt layer across the coil and the fins will create a layer of insulation making it harder to absorb heat. You can’t solve the problem by trying to chip off the ice and clean the coil on your own. Let professionals use special tools to prevent damage to the coil.
  • The AC has lost its refrigerant charge: The charge of an AC refers to the level of refrigerant necessary for it to work. The only way an AC will lose charge is through leaks along the refrigerant lines or at connecting points. Loss of charge is a major malfunction that can lead to the compressor burning out—the last thing you want to happen to your air conditioner!

When you have ice on your AC, never hesitate to call our professionals. We’ll have the job done fast and right.

Red Rock Mechanical, LLC serves Burlington, VT and the Plattsburgh, NY area.

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