How to Fix a Frozen Air Conditioner 

Summer’s coming (believe it or not) and here’s a common scenario with the average homeowner: They’re sitting in their house, minding their own business, having a bowl of popcorn and watching their favorite TV show, when all of a sudden – that distant dreadful sound; drip… drip… drip. They glance over to see the cat licking at a puddle that’s slowly forming on the dining room floor. Just like that, the mood changes: Concern, stress, and that “how much will this cost?” feeling. Where did the leak come from?; water heater, leaky toilet, shower, faucet? Nope – it’s the air conditioner of all things. This can strike anywhere, from the U.S. to Timbuktu, regardless of summer heat. 

Why Air Conditioners Freeze 

The evaporator coil is the component of a central A/C unit that actually freezes. This component of the air conditioner transfers (evaporates) heat from the inside to the outside of your the U.S. area home. Usually there are two factors why the evaporator coil may freeze: 

  1. Airflow restriction 
  1. Insufficient refrigerant 

Either way, the result is that the air conditioner’s evaporator coil cannot operate to properly dissipate heat, and in essence ‘overcools’ itself. The net effect of this super-cooling is condensation (that’s water formation), and eventually ice forms from that condensation as it cools below the freezing point. Yep, the A/C has morphed into an old-school icebox. 

What Can You Do When Your A/C Freezes? 

  • Turn the system completely off at the thermostat, and do not just move up the temperature on the thermostat. It is important that the A/C system is completely OFF. 
  • Check to ensure that the airflow around your system is unrestricted. Replace the furnace or air handler’s filter along with any return air filters. Open all the registers completely and confirm that they are not obstructed by furniture or drapes. 
  • Call Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing. The air conditioning system needs to be serviced by a professional that is ACE-certified to ensure there are no refrigerant leaks or damage to the equipment. Simply schedule a Performance Inspection or Repair Diagnostic online, or call to talk to a live person right away. 

What Does it Cost to Repair? 

This can turn into an expensive repair. When your unit freezes over it can lead to a compressor replacement. Replacing your compressor could cost as much as a downpayment on a high efficiency model. Unfortunately, many homeowners are forced to choose between installing a new system and repairing the old unit. If you follow the steps above and quickly call a ACE-certified technician, you have better odds of getting a less expensive repair. 

Your technician will diagnose the situation and how to avoid the issue from occurring in the future. If a leak exists (and that is rare, but possible), the leak has to be repaired or the unit will probably freeze again. 

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