Why Outdoor HVAC Units Ice Over and How to Address It

An outdoor HVAC unit is left exposed to all sorts of elements, such as rain, dirt, debris, leaves, insects, critters, and more. One of the more challenging obstacles to any outdoor system is ice.

Below are the four most common reasons why an outdoor unit might accumulate ice and how to address the problem. 

Why Ice Accumulates on HVAC Units and What to Do About It

Reason #1: 

A dirty air filter. A clogged or dirty filter can restrict air movement, leading to the evaporator coil becoming so cold that moisture from the air freezes on the line.

The fix: Replace your air filter. Then, turn your system off, but turn the fan to “on” so the evaporator coil can defrost. It may take a few hours, but you’ll know it’s been fully defrosted when the air coming out of the vents has returned to normal. 

Reason #2:

A leak in the copper line caused by corrosion has led to a drop in the refrigerant level. This in turn drops the temperature of the evaporator coil so low it freezes over.

The fix: Call on a professional to locate the leak and discuss some options for how to fix it. 

Reason #3:

A faulty blower not generating enough warm air to stop the evaporator coil from freezing up.

The fix: Listen for the blower. If it’s not running, call a professional to investigate further. 

Reason #4:

Debris has accumulated on the evaporator coil and is impeding the flow of warm air needed to prevent ice formation on the coil.

The fix: Call on a professional to clean the coil. 

Keep Ice Away With Preventive Maintenance

An effective way of keeping ice off your HVAC system is to have preventive maintenance performed on a regular basis. Every spring and fall we offer our 15-point inspection for residents in the Wilmington, NC, area to help keep units clear of debris, leaks, and faulty parts that can cause ice to form. Schedule an appointment online or contact us at (910) 791-1988 to learn more about our preventive HVAC maintenance.

Common HVAC Issues And How to Troubleshoot Them

When trouble arises with your HVAC unit, it’s typically best to call on the professionals for help. But there are a few common problems you may be able to address yourself. 

HVAC problems can be put into one of three categories: no air, weak air, or inconsistent air. Below are some troubleshooting actions for some of the more common HVAC issues to help you diagnose or even fix problems before calling the team at Wilmington Air for help. 

The 3 Most Common HVAC Issues

No Air

If your HVAC system won’t turn on, check the power source. Hopefully it’s as simple as the cord becoming unplugged. Inspect it for damage caused by moving furniture or pests. And if the unit has a built-in circuit breaker, reset it and try to power the system on again. 

If you still don’t have any luck, plug something else into the same outlet and turn that device on to determine if the problem is the outlet or your HVAC system. 

Weak Air

One common problem with HVAC units is a weak flow of hot or cold air. A dirty and clogged up filter is often to blame, so the first thing you should do is check or change the air filters in your house. It’s recommended that these filters be changed every 60-90 days

If a fresh filter doesn’t do the trick, the problem may be present in the motor, fan blade, or compressor and may require a professional set of eyes. 

Inconsistent Air

Sometimes a faulty HVAC unit will heat or cool the house inconsistent with the desired settings. This can often be an issue with the thermostat. Thermostats run on batteries, so first try checking the battery connecting points for dust or corrosion before then replacing the battery altogether. 

Let the Professionals Step In

If you’ve exhausted your troubleshooting options and the problems with your HVAC unit persist, it may be time to call in some professional help. At Wilmington Air, we offer the HVAC repair and maintenance expertise that can go above and beyond simple troubleshooting to restore your system to its proper working order. 

Schedule your service appointment today and let our team of expert technicians help you find some comfort in your home again.