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Old 01-11-2010, 01:30 PM   #1
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Florida outside condenser unit iced over (photos)


I live in Jacksonville, Florida where the temps hit mid-20s for 10-12 hours last night. This is how my outside condenser unit looks this morning - all that white is solid ice. I have turned off my heat completely. The temperature is expected to go into the 50s today but another hard freeze is forecast for tonight. I can easily get by without turning on the heat overnight.

I did not have any sprinklers on last night and we have not had any rain for a week here in Jacksonville. So there was no water on it from either of those.

I know there should not be all (any!) of those shrubs around the unit, (the former owner planted those). They are actually not as close as they appear in the photos. They will be removed this spring. Could the moisture from the plants have caused this?

So what is the problem and what is the fix? The unit is about 12 years old but it has never given me any trouble. I have had it serviced regularly.

I plan to scrape and paint the grille in the spring, also (after removed from the condenser - will not paint while attached), to freshen the appearance.

Thanks so much for your help and advice!! Photos below.

Carol

How it looks this morning:



How it normally looks:

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Old 01-11-2010, 01:46 PM   #2
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Florida outside condenser unit iced over (photos)


I can't see the photo's but when the outside is below 50 degrees or so the coil will ice up. A heat pump cannot pick up heat to pump into the house unless the coil is below the outside temperature and it should be about 20 degrees below. The ice will remain untill it blocks up enough airflow and then it will defrost and melt the ice. Still much of it may remain aound the housing as this will also be chiled by the nearby coil.

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Old 01-11-2010, 03:11 PM   #3
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Florida outside condenser unit iced over (photos)


Doesn't your system have a defrost cycle? If it does, it wouldn't appear to be working. Maybe it's time to call an HVAC company.

The ice is coming from the humid air down there in Fl. At certain temps (cold enough to require heat but not so cold that the air can't hold humidity) you will get ice forming on the coils. That's what the defrost cycle is for.

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Old 01-11-2010, 04:16 PM   #4
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Florida outside condenser unit iced over (photos)


Yeah. Looks like a defrost problem. or a dirty air filter causing the defrost cycle to terminate too soon.
Could also be low on refrigerant. that will cause it to freeze up, and the defrost cycle will terminate before it can thaw the ice.
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Old 01-12-2010, 01:26 AM   #5
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Florida outside condenser unit iced over (photos)


Now that I see it, that is way too much ice. Either it is not initiating the defrost cycle, or it is low on freon. I don't see any partially melted ice or water that has run down the side so I suspect a bad relay or timer.
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Old 01-12-2010, 01:30 AM   #6
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Florida outside condenser unit iced over (photos)


leave it running set on normal heat if it melts you just happened to shut it off before a defrost cycle
also that looks more like frost than ice, if after leaving it run for awhile (several hours) you still see it than its time to call someone
i just looked closer and yea the inside shouldnt be iced like that time to make that call

Last edited by kennzz05; 01-12-2010 at 01:35 AM.
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Old 01-12-2010, 08:21 AM   #7
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Florida outside condenser unit iced over (photos)


Quote:
Originally Posted by kennzz05 View Post
leave it running set on normal heat if it melts you just happened to shut it off before a defrost cycle
also that looks more like frost than ice, if after leaving it run for awhile (several hours) you still see it than its time to call someone
i just looked closer and yea the inside shouldnt be iced like that time to make that call

That's what the ice looks like when it accumulates on the coil unless it is raining. If it had a partial defrost, wouldn't there be some clear ice and water on and under the unit?

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