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Can frost, ice, dirt or other debris keep the outdoor unit of my cooling system from operating effectively?

Anything that prevents airflow from making its way to the outdoor coil can negatively affect the efficiency and performance of the equipment. Make it a priority to keep the space around the equipment clean and clear.

If you’re like most people, you have some general HVAC service questions you’d like to ask a technician. One of the most common questions is whether or not debris and other factors can affect the operation of the outdoor unit of your cooling system. Here’s what you need to know:

Frost and Ice

It’s common, and normal, for frost and ice to form on the outside unit of your HVAC system in the winter. There is a defrost control built into the unit that will activate if it senses frost or ice. If there is ice on your air conditioning system during the summer, it means there is something wrong with the unit such as a leak or low refrigerant. This will compromise the performance of the unit and requires a service call from a certified technician.

Dirt and Debris

It’s common to find dirt and debris on the outside unit of a cooling system. Wind, rain, and other weather can blow dirt, dust, sticks, leaves, and other debris onto and into the unit. While the units are designed to stand up to the weather, debris blown into the unit can cause damage and can keep the unit from operating efficiently. Keep the unit clear of debris when possible, but if you notice any dirt inside the unit or if you see that your system doesn’t seem to be functioning as well as it should have a professional look at it.

If you see any frost, ice, dirt, or debris on your outdoor cooling unit, it’s possible it could affect the operation of your air conditioner.

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