Winter: Blowing cold air / Ice or water at outdoor unit



  • All reverse cycle ducted, room and split system air conditioning systems are affected by the outdoor temperature - the colder outside, the less heating inside. 
  • When it is cold outside, most systems develop ice or frost on the outside motor. 
  • All reverse cycle systems have some form of ˋdefrosting' method to remove this ice. 
  • When this occurs, the ice melts and turns to steam, sometimes mistaken for smoke. Plenty of water around the system is a result. This is quite normal. 
  • A loud whooshing noise can sometimes be heard. This is quite normal.           
  • Some methods of defrosting also stop the fan motor (outside unit) from working whilst the compressor continues to operate.  Again normal. 
  • Split system and room air conditioners can at times hear the gas 'wooshing' through the indoor unit, even making 'cracking' noises. This is normal.
  • Inverter air conditioners can produce very loud buzzing noises, including during the defrost cycle, the noise can vary as the compressor speeds up and slows down.
  • When extremely cold outside some older units, remain on defrost for a long time and you may think the unit is faulty.   
  • It is important to leave the unit operating so that it can complete the defrost cycle. If the unit is switched off before completing the cycle, it may still be locked into this defrost mode when again switched on.  The defrost process should only last up to five minutes, if not a service call maybe required.   
  • During some defrost cycles, a cold draft of air can come from the outlets. 
  • Do not hose down or pour water over a unit with ice on it. As it may cause damage to the electrical components. 
  • If you are still unsure about defrost, a service call may be required to check the unit on site.


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