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Help! There’s Frost on My Air Conditioning Coils!

frozen-ac-coilsAir conditioning season is coming, and when our summer heat waves hit, you need to be on guard for any problems with your system. Only trained professionals should attempt to diagnose (much less repair) an air conditioner. The system contains potentially dangerous chemicals, and without formal licensing any attempt at repairs could be unsafe.

However, that doesn’t mean you can’t learn to spot the signs that something is wrong, then call in a repair service to take care of it. Among the more subtle symptoms of trouble is the presence of frost or ice on the coils. At first, it doesn’t sound like a big issue. After all, isn’t the air conditioner supposed to be cold? In point of face, however, frost on your air conditioning coils is a sign that you need to turn off the system immediately and call in a repair service.

An Imbalance

The coils are the place where the actual cooling of the air takes place. Refrigerant enters the coils in liquid form and under considerable pressure. There, it expands into gaseous form, pulling heat from the nearby air in the process. The cold air can then be blown into your house with a fan.

Frost on the coils, however, interferes with that process: forming an insulating barrier between the refrigerant and the air it needs to cool. That means that the air conditioner must use more energy than it should to do its job. More importantly, it increases strain on the various components in the system, which in turn increases the chances of a more serious breakdown.

Even worse, the presence of ice or frost tends to lead to more ice and frost, which creates a cascading effect. Eventually, the problem will cause significant damage to the system as a whole.

What Causes It

Frost on the coils can be caused by a number of factors, including (but not limited to) the following:

  • Leaking Refrigerant, which can throw off the balance required to cool the air properly.
  • High Humidity, which can create extra frost and ice on the coils as the human air cools.
  • Low Air Flow, which leaves cold air trapped inside the air conditioner to create more ice. Low air flow can be caused by blockages in the ducts, problems with the fan motor, or even misaligned fan blades.

What to Do

In the event you notice frost or ice on your coils, turn the system off, then contact a reliable repair service. Under no circumstances should you attempt to scrape the ice off of the coils. In the first place, it won’t solve the problem. The ice will simply reform a short while later, and will continue to do so until the core issue gets treated. More importantly, however, you could very easily damage the coils, and turn a relatively small repair issue into a huge one.

If you need top-notch AC repair in Maryland, then call upon the friendly professionals at Atlantic Refrigeration & Air Conditioning, Inc. today to make an appointment!

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