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The height of the summer cooling season is the least opportune—but most likely—time to encounter an air conditioning problem. There are many reasons your air conditioner may suffer a drop in efficiency or function; knowing the common causes of air conditioner troubles and how to handle them can help you enjoy a cooler and more stress-free summer near Atlanta.

Ice on Your Air Conditioner

Despite its outward appearance, ice formation on your air conditioner doesn’t mean your A/C is cooling effectively. In fact, ice typically forms on an air conditioner when it has lost efficiency due to dirt or airflow problems. These issues affect the appliance’s ability to remove humidity from the air and cause excessive moisture accumulation, which then freezes into ice during the cooling process. If you discover ice on your air conditioner, it’s important to get rid of the ice and determine its cause to prevent the problem from recurring. Turn off your air conditioner and let the ice melt completely from the coils—this may take several hours and require a bucket placed beneath the unit to catch runoff and prevent water damage to the surrounding area. The most common cause of ice formation on an air conditioner is a dirty furnace filter, which restricts airflow through the appliance. Check your filter and replace it, if necessary, to see if this solves the problem. Alternatively, dirty coils can also promote ice formation, so you may want to clean your air conditioner’s evaporator coils or contact your HVAC service for cleaning. If you’re still experiencing ice formation on your A/C coils, it could be due to low refrigerant levels—only an HVAC professional should handle refrigerant leaks and replenishment for safety reasons.

Excessive or Intermittent Function

If your air conditioner seems to turn on and off frequently or, instead, rarely turns on at all, the issue might be a problem with your thermostat. Thermostats that are dirty or affected by outside temperature changes won’t effectively communicate the need for cooling to your HVAC system. If your home employs an older manual-type thermostat, you can remove it from the wall and clean the interior carefully with a soft, dry cloth to see if this improves your air conditioner’s function. Regardless of your thermostat type, make sure it is placed in an area of your home that does not receive direct sunlight and isn’t in the path of an air register that could blow cool air directly onto the thermostat, thus artificially affecting its temperature readings. If your thermostat is in an area of your home that you think could be affected by temperature changes or you’d like to consider replacing an older thermostat with a new, more accurate digital model, your HVAC technician can easily help you solve these problems so you can enjoy more consistent cooling for greater home comfort.

Your Atlanta HVAC service is here to help you stay cool all summer long with air conditioning maintenance, repair, and replacement. If you need help with your air conditioner, don’t wait—the sooner you address A/C troubles, the less time you’ll spend without the comfort of efficient home cooling. You can find out more about our heating and cooling services on the web, or check out our blog for additional troubleshooting and maintenance tips.