How to Fix a Frozen Air Conditioner 

Summer’s coming (we promise) and here’s a typical scenario with the average homeowner: They’re at home, minding their own business, enjoying a bowl of popcorn and watching a movie, when they notice that awful sound; drip… drip… drip. They look over to see the cat licking at a puddle that’s gradually forming on the dining room floor. Just like that, the mood changes: Anxiety, stress, and that sinking feeling. What caused the leak?; water heater, leaky toilet, shower, faucet? No – the air conditioning equipment may be frozen. This can occur anywhere, from the U.S. to Timbuktu, regardless of weather.

Why Air Conditioners Freeze

The part of the air conditioner that actually freezes is known as the evaporator coil. 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. Restricted air flow
    1. Low refrigerant

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

What Might You Do When Your A/C Freezes?

    • Turn the unit completely off at the thermostat, and do not increase the thermostat temperature as a way to melt the frost on the coils. It is important that the A/C system is completely OFF.
    • Do what you can to ensure airflow is not restricted. Replace the furnace or air handler’s filter and replace any return air filters. Open all the registers completely and confirm that they are not impeded by furniture or drapes.

What Does it Cost to Repair?

This can turn into an expensive repair. When your AC 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 people are forced to pick between installing a new system and repairing the old model. If you act quickly and call a ACE-certified technician, you stand a better chance of having a less expensive job.

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

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