How to Remove Ice Buildup on Air Conditioning Coils

A professional repairman inspecting the coils of an AC unit.
What You'll Need
Cleaning gloves
Commercial coil cleaner
Scrub brush or expendable toothbrush
Warm water
Empty spray bottle
Clean cloth

If the air conditioning coils in your home's unit have fallen victim to ice buildup, you'll have trouble getting your house properly cooled. Incorporating the aid of an air conditioning specialist can sometimes be costly, so before placing that call, make an effort to tackle this job on your own. Fortunately, provided the problem isn't indicative of something more serious, you can take care of the issue in just a few simple steps.

Step 1 - Prep Your Air Conditioner

Before proceeding to remove the ice from the coils, you will need to turn off your AC unit and disconnect it from its power source. Allow it to sit for several minutes, and you'll be ready to give the surrounding area a good looking-over. If you find any leakage or stains on the unit, your air conditioner will likely need to be looked at by a repair specialist. Leaks are often caused by low refrigerant levels and should only be tackled by someone well-versed in these machines. If you're find nothing out of the ordinary upon inspection, you may proceed with the next step.

Step 2 - Allow the Ice to Melt

Keep the device turned off and disconnected to allow the ice to melt naturally. If it is warm enough for your AC to be active, this shouldn't take long.

Step 3 - Clean Your Coils

Now that the ice buildup has melted away, it's time to give the coils a good cleaning. Start by donning a pair of gloves and spraying the formerly ice-laden coils with a commercial coil cleaner. Next, use a scrub brush or expendable toothbrush to administer a vigorous scrubbing, making sure to purge any caked-on dirt deposits. Excessive dirt on your coils is a major cause of ice formation, so when performing this step, make a point of being very thorough.

Once the coils have been successfully cleaned, spray them with a warm water-filled spray bottle in order to remove any remaining traces of the cleaner. Take a clean cloth and wipe the freshly cleaned coils dry. Do not reconnect your AC unit to its power source or proceed to reuse the device until all the moisture is gone.

Step 4 - Keep Your Air Conditioning Coils Ice-free

Preventing ice buildup in the first place is the best way to ensure your AC doesn't run into frequent problems. Assuming your unit hasn't sprung a leak, the best way to avoid frozen coils is to abstain from running the air when the temperature is cool outside. Additionally, take care to give the coils periodic cleanings in order to avoid ice formation caused by excess filth.