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How To Clean Your Air Conditioner When It Is Iced Over

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If your air conditioner is running, but your house is too warm, you should check the unit for signs of ice buildup. Although it may seem strange, when your air conditioner malfunctions, the unit can get cold enough for ice to form, but your house will heat up. That's because the ice keeps air from flowing through the system. A few different things can cause this problem. Before you call a heating and cooling contractor to come to the rescue, you may want to try cleaning your HVAC first. Here's what you can do.

Let The Ice Melt

A contractor can't do anything about your unit when it is coated in ice anyway, so you'll need to shut off your AC and let the ice melt. If you have a big chunk of ice covering the coils, it may take a long time for it to go away. Resist the urge to chip away the ice chunk as you might damage the coils or copper pipes. If the ice is on the inside of your house, be prepared to collect the water as it melts, or you'll have a mess on your floor.

Check The Filter

While you're waiting on the ice to melt, you can clean your system. You won't be able to clean out the interior components, but you can change the filter and clean out the vents. If you haven't changed the filter in a long time, that could be the cause of your problem. If it is caked with dust and pet hairs, it may be blocking air from getting through your system. Go ahead and replace the filter unless you have already done so within the past month or so.

Clean The Vents

Your HVAC needs to draw in air to pass over the refrigeration coils before it blows it out into your house. If the vents are clogged up, air can't get through. Use a brush to clean out dust bunnies, so the air flows freely. Also make sure nothing is pressed against your HVAC such as a towel or lawn chair. Weeds could be a problem too, so cut them away from the sides of your unit, so they don't block air. You should also clean the exit vents on the inside of your home since dust can build up on them over time and cause problems.

You can perform these easy cleaning jobs without touching any dangerous parts of your HVAC system. You shouldn't try to take off the panel that covers the motor and electrical parts. If dust has gummed up the works in there, a contractor will need to clean it out, because you might void your warranty, or cause even more problems by trying to do it yourself. The problem with your AC might be a worn part instead, and in that case, you'll need to call a contractor. Still, it doesn't hurt to give your unit a quick cleaning just in case it solves your problem. If it does, your AC will be restored quicker and you'll save the cost of a service call.