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Help! There’s Frost on My Air Conditioner Coils

For most people, the sight of frost or ice on the coils of their air conditioner doesn’t seem out of the ordinary. After all, aren’t air conditioners supposed to be cold? In point of fact, however, frost on the coils usually signals a significant problem, which should be dealt with quickly by a trained professional before it gets any worse. The reasons lie in the basics of the system itself, and the good news is a trained technician can help.

Why Does Frost Form?

The reasons for frost forming on the air conditioner are numerous, ranging from low refrigerant levels to a malfunctioning fan motor. But the effects of the frost can be devastating. Air conditioning depends on a delicate balance of conditions that allow the refrigerant to cool the air. It enters the evaporator coils in liquid form and under a great deal of pressure. A valve releases a set amount into the coils, where it shifts from liquid to gaseous form. As it does so, it pulls heat from the surrounding air, which can be blown into your home via the ducts once it’s cool.

When that process is thrown out of balance – such as when the amount of refrigerant is reduced due to a leak somewhere in the system – then the cooling process is disrupted and ice forms on the coils. Ice can also form because of external factors like excessive humidity in the air. Whatever the reason, the ice forms a barrier between the refrigerant and the air it intends to cool, making the process more difficult. The air conditioner must thus work harder to do its job, and the internal components will be subject to a great deal of strain. The longer the problem goes on, the worse it gets, as more and more ice forms. Eventually, it can result in a serious breakdown, turning what could have been a simple repair job into something much more expensive.

Why You Need a Professional

Some homeowners try to solve the problem simply by scraping the ice off. This is actually the worst thing you can do. In the first place, it won’t fix the issue: the ice will just reform until the core issue is treated. Diagnosing that and performing repairs means proper training and licensing. Furthermore, by scraping the ice off, you might inadvertently damage the coils, which will turn a relatively simple repair job into something very expensive. (The evaporator coils are among the most expensive components in the entire air conditioner.)

Instead, the moment you spot frost on the coils, turn the system off and call in a repair service. The technician can then perform a formal assessment and discuss repair options with you before fixing the problem at its root. That usually ends up costing less than it might otherwise, and ensures that the ice won’t reform again anytime soon.

For quality air conditioning repair services in Salt Lake City, UT, call on the friendly professionals at At Your Service Plumbing, Heating & Air.

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