How to Fix a Frozen Air Conditioner

February 23, 2015

Summer’s coming (believe it or not) and here's an all-to-familiar 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 they notice that awful sound; drip... drip... drip. They glance over to see the cat licking at a puddle that's steadily forming on the kitchen floor. Suddenly: Concern, stress, and that “how much will this cost?” feeling. How did the leak start?; water heater, leaky toilet, shower, faucet? Not necessarily – the central air conditioner is frozen solid. This can strike anywhere, from Columbia to Thailand, regardless of weather.

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Why Air Conditioners Freeze

When a central air conditioner freezes up, what actually freezes is the condenser unit's evaporator coil. This component of the air conditioner transfers (evaporates) heat from the inside to the outside of your Columbia area home. Usually there are two factors why the evaporator coil may freeze:

  1. Restricted air flow
  2. Lack of sufficient refrigerant

Either way, the ending effect is that the air conditioner's evaporator coil cannot operate to properly disperse the heat, and in essence 'overcools' itself. The result of this super-cooling is condensation (that's water formation), and finally ice forms from that condensation as it cools below the freezing point. In other words, the A/C transformed into an old-school icebox.

What Should You Do When Your A/C Freezes?

  1. Turn the system completely off at the thermostat, and don’t try to thaw the system by increasing the temperature at the thermostat. Ensure the A/C system is completely OFF.
  2. Check to ensure that the airflow around your system is unrestricted. Replace the furnace or air handler's filter as well as any return air filters. Open all the registers completely and confirm that they are not blocked by furniture or drapery.
  3. Call Midland Air Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning. The air conditioning system needs to be serviced by a professional that is NATE-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 lead to an expensive repair. When your air conditioner ices over it can lead to damage to the compressor. Replacing your compressor could easily cost as much as a downpayment on a high efficiency model. Unfortunately, many homeowners are forced to decide between installing a new system and repairing the old unit. If you follow the steps above and quickly call a NATE-certified technician, you have better odds of having a less expensive repair.

Your technician will advise you of the exact cause and how to avoid the issue from repeating 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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