Using a split air conditioner is a great way of ensuring that you stay cool in the summer months. However, occasionally, problems can develop with the conditioner which cause it to develop "frosts," or formation of ice particles on the outside unit. This is often accompanied by a lack of cool air within the room, indicating that the AC unit has stopped functioning. Frosting can also be noted during regular maintenance sessions.
Frosting on the Outside Unit
Frosting on the outside unit is caused by the window air conditioner condenser not working properly. Contacts inside the unit become stuck, and even weld together, for example if ants or debris comes in between the contacts. It is vital that the unit be switched off at the wall immediately, as the indoor unit can keep running and damage the outer compressor.
If dirt and debris are responsible for the frosting, it should be possible to scrape that away, and hopefully get the conditioner to restart. If the contacts are firmly welded together, it is time to consider replacing parts; the conditioner condenser may have to be scrapped entirely, and a new AC unit fitted. Split air conditioners may need to be binned as one piece, and a new conditioner bought. If in doubt, contact a local expert for advice on cleaning and refitting parts; it is sometimes easier to buy a completely new split air conditioner than keep having to change the different parts. Sometimes so many parts are bought over the years it is hard to find anything of the original window air conditioner left!
The Size of the Condenser Unit
Not all split air conditioners are made the same, unfortunately, and if you have a large enough room, the condenser will become over worked, and will overload. This causes the unit to clog and become frosted; the system will stop working and stop cooling your room. Conversely, if the condenser is too large, it can cool the room down very quickly. The thermostat shuts down the air circulation too soon, and this leaves the air cold and humid, rather like being stuck in a mist. Measure the size of the room before buying any kind of air conditioning unit in order to prevent damage of the window air conditioner condenser.
Checking Your Window Air Conditioner
The first place to start with checking out the condition of an AC unit is to do a regular maintenance check up. Outside air conditioner units will need to be swept and cleansed regularly for dirt and other damage—it is even possible for ants and insects to get inside the device, causes blockages and reducing the life of the window air conditioner.
After regular maintenance check the entire unit to ensure that all parts are working correctly. You should monitor the split air conditioner unit as it moves through a complete cooling cycle, noting if the compressor seems to get overheated, or if the condenser appears to be becoming frosted.