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My Air Conditioner Has Ice On It

Posted by John Sims on Tue, Jun, 19, 2018 @ 15:06 PM

If you have ice forming on your air conditioner, that's not a good thing. During theIced ac line heat wave we've been having when your air conditioner is running a lot, I know it's hard to believe, but your outside air conditioner unit or heat pump could be coated with solid ice.

A 'frozen' A/C system can make for a frustrating and uncomfortable day; it happens more than you think.

The buildup of ice and frost is a sure sign that your air conditioner is not operating properly. Air conditioner freeze-ups should be addressed immediately; continued ice accumulation can cause permanent damage to your a/c unit.

There are two fairly common reasons for homeowners to understand about the likely cause of the problem.

#1 - Blocked air flow from a dirty air filter.

When your home's air flow is restricted, there's not enough air moving through the air conditioning system to keep the moisture on the coil from freezing. Anything that restricts air flow will cause the temperature of the system’s evaporator coil to drop below freezing. Humidity in the air will collect on the coil causing ice to build-up and reduce the system’s cooling capacity. Dirty air filters or dirt build-up on the evaporator coil can seriously restrict the air flow.

The culprit is usually the air filter. Changing air filters on a regular basis is inexpensive but it delivers lots of benefit. If you'd like a friendly reminder you can sign up for our monthly email reminder.

#2 - Refrigerant Leaks: Leaks or low levels of refrigerant can cause pressure drops in the air conditioner’s evaporator coil, which will allow moisture in the air to freeze and accumulate on the coil.

Air conditioner ice up is a serious problem! If the evaporator coil turns into a 'block of ice', it prevents the heat transfer to occur within the evaporator. The block of ice is blocks the airflow through the evaporator coil. The cold Freon within the evaporator coil is supposed to absorb the heat and turn it to gas; which it is prevented from doing.

What To Do When Your Air Conditioner Freezes Up:

What should you do: Switch off the system so it can defrost but you can keep the fan running so it will defrost faster. Let it run for 60 to 90 minutes. Check your air filter and turn it back to "cool" and it should start working again.

P.S. It's probably time for service or a tune up!

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Topics: AC Problems, AC Repair, Ice Build Up

Roof Maintenance Tips for Spring May Effect Your IAQ Eventually.

Posted by John Sims on Fri, Apr, 18, 2014 @ 15:04 PM

Since we are talking about the attic, let's move up to the roof. When the weather turns a little warmer after such a long snowy winter, the last thing homeowners want is to deal with a leaky roof. I know it's seems like its been a long time since you've seen your roof. Roof inspection Battle Creek

Keeping water or moisture from making its way into your home prevents the mold potential which can affect your Indoor Air Quality. 

Let's look at your roof to avoid potential damage. This is a good time to give your roof a general inspection for integrity:

  • Start by checking the condition of the shingles on your roof. If your shingles are cracked, bubbling, or otherwise distorted, you should consider replacement. Or, at least having a roofing contractor come out and give you an expert opinion. Think about it, your roof can be considered your home’s first line of defense.
  • Scrape off any algae, dirt, leaves or debris that has accumulated on your roof. They will slowly deteriorate roof shingles while they grow or decompose. Obviously, safety when going up on your roof is of utmost importance(if you're not comfortable hire someone)
  • Check chimney flashing - Chimney's are notorious for developing leaks over time.
  • Check plumbing vents - According to leading building science experts, plumbing vent pipes should penetrate the roof near the ridge near the ridge rather than near the eave, for two reasons: While ridges are dry, eaves are wet. Eaves see much more water over the course of a year than ridges, so any defect near an eave will leak more water than a defect near a ridge. If you live up north, snow and ice can tear your plumbing vent right off your roof, especially if it is located near your eave. It’s much safer higher up the roof.
  • Check the roof valleys - Valleys are where two different sections of your roof meet. They concentrate water and often clog with ice. It’s far more common to have leaks or ice dam problems near valleys than in the middle of a simple sloped roof. In winter, a poorly designed valley can turn into a slow-moving glacier and large accumulation of snow. When they leak, water can run in many directions in your attic.

Gutter Maintenance:

The gutters on your house are an important part of your roof system. Rain runs down your roof and collects in the gutters. Here, water is directed away from the home to prevent flooding and water damage. If your gutters are dirty or clogged, problems can occur. During the winter, standing water may have frozen in your gutters, preventing new moisture from being directed off the roof. Inspect for structural damage from icicles and ice dams. After you inspect your roof for debris, don’t forget to clean out the gutters and downspouts. Make sure there is a clear path for rainwater to drain off and away.

Get those tree limbs and branches away from your roof:

According to many roofing contractors, the number one cause of roof damage comes from trees and branches that are simply too close to the roof.

Trimming trees that hang over your roof or cutting off dying or dead branches, you can prevent potential roof damage. Any limbs or branches that are hanging directly over your roof should be removed. It is important to have limb removal performed by professionals, as incorrectly chopping limbs from a tree can result in damage to a roof or even personal injury.

If you had ice dams this winter, check for damage.

Your roof should include details to minimize the likelihood of ice dams: Make sure your ceiling is as airtight as possible after you air seal. Install a very deep layer of insulation on your attic floor. The insulation needs to cover the top plates of the home's exterior walls. Make sure there is adequate blocking between your trusses to keep the insulation from spilling into the soffit and to prevent wind-washing. Install ventilation baffles to maintain a ventilation channel from your soffit to the attic.

At Sims Heating and Cooling, we want to help homeowners solve a variety of home performance problems even though our products and services are centered around heating, cooling, indoor air qualtiy problems and electrical services.

Your home is made up of integrated systems. each one can affect the other. In the end, every homeowner wants a Home That Performs!

 

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Topics: IAQ, Ice Build Up, Moisture Problems, Roof Maintenance

What Is The Best Way For Battle Creek Homeowners To Get Rid Of Ice Dams?

Posted by John Sims on Tue, Feb, 11, 2014 @ 14:02 PM

Boy, this certainly is the season for ice dams and the conditions this year have to be one of the worst in a long time. There are some significant ice dams & icicles on the roof all over the Battle Creek area.

Icicles2013

Many homeowners are experiencing water running down the interior walls of their home. This is what keeps homeowners who understand the potential damage, up at night. We've had several inquiries concerning what to do about that situation.

We quickly researched some resources to share them with homeowners in the Battle Creek area. There really is no 'surefire' answer. Each has its pros and cons.

 

 

Here's some firsthand experience from a Home Inspector named Reuben Saltzman.

Solutions #1 Roof Tablets

Roof Melt Tablets 440x330Yes, this is a product designed specifically for preventing damage from ice dams.  Contrary to the name on the container, the product doesn’t actually melt your roof (whew).  The instructions say to toss the tablets on to your roof and they’ll melt through the ice dams, allowing for “water to drain safely”.

Here's a link to his pictures(they're really good):

Pros: If you had perfect aim and tablets didn’t move after you tossed them on to the roof, this would be very safe.  Some channels were created for water to drain through, which might be enough to prevent leakage at your roof.

Cons: The tablets don’t stay where they land, which negates the whole safety thing.  I still had to set up a ladder on the icy ground and move the tablets around myself.  This method was also pretty ineffective – it created a bunch of holes in the ice dam, but so what?  Most of the ice dam was still there in the end.

Verdict: This might be a nice way to get down to the roof surface, and it might prevent leakage from ice dams if enough channels are created for water to drain through, but you’re still left with a huge ice dam.

Suggestion #2: Salt Filled Pantyhose 

Take off your pantyhose, fill ‘em up with calcium chloride or something similar, and toss ‘em on your roof perpendicular to the ice dams.  The idea is that the salt will leak through the pantyhose and create channels for the water to drain through, preventing water from leaking in to your house.

The pantyhose were a bit of a bust for me.  With salt alone being so effective, why bother with the pantyhose?  I’ve heard several opinions on this:

  • The pantyhose will contain the salt and prevent runoff.  The idea is apparently to leave the pantyhose there all winter.
  • The pantyhose can be ‘flung’ on to the roof with a rope – no need for a ladder.  After the work is done, you pull the pantyhose back down.
  • The pantyhose will gradually release the salt.
  • The pantyhose method works much faster if you start by pouring water on the pantyhose.  I didn’t try this myself.
  • When salt alone is used, it will wash out within a week and the ice channel will freeze over again.

Pros: If you fling the stockings on to your roof from the ground, it’s pretty safe.

Cons: This takes a long time.  After a week of near-zero temps, the pantyhose looked just the same.  They hadn’t even made a dent. I don’t think I would have the patience to do this if I had water leaking in to my house.  Also, this could lead to damaged gutters.

Here's some homeowners sharing their experience online with Salt Filled Pantyhose:

IceDamComments

WARNING! Performing ice dam removal is risking severe personal injury and damage to the roof if not done properly. Never walk on a snow covered roof and make sure if you're using a ladder you follow the proper safety procedures.

Here's one way to do it if you are willing to take the risk or you feel confident enough to do it:

IceDamsChipping

Reuben said it pretty well:

Oh, and one more piece of advice: if you know someone who has water leaking in to their house from ice dams, don’t tell them to “stop focusing on how to get rid of the ice dam, and spend your time fixing what caused it.”  It’s like telling someone with a gash in their finger to be more careful around knives.  ”Great, thanks, now please pass the Band-Aids.”

Hopefully, these situations will encourage folks to take the measures, when the weather is warmer and the problem is no longer there, to prevent them in the future.

Do you have any personal experience?

Topics: energy efficiency, Ice Build Up, Icicle Problems, Attic Insulation

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