How to Fix a Frozen Air Conditioner

February 23, 2015

Summer’s coming (as hard as it is to believe right now) and here's an often cited scenario with the average homeowner: They’re at home, minding their own business, happily indulging a bowl of popcorn and watching their favorite TV show, when all of a sudden – that distant dreadful sound; drip... drip... drip. They turn their head to see the household pet licking at a puddle that's gradually forming on the bathroom floor. Just like that, the mood changes: Anxiety, stress, and that “how much will this cost?” feeling. What caused the leak?; water heater, leaky toilet, shower, faucet? No – the central air conditioner is frozen solid. This can strike anywhere, from Naples to Timbuktu, regardless of weather.

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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 Naples area home. Usually there are two factors why the evaporator coil may freeze:

  1. Restricted air flow
  2. Low refrigerant

Either way, the outcome is that the air conditioner's evaporator coil cannot operate to properly dissipate heat, and in effect '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 just turned into an old-school icebox.

What Should You Do When Your A/C Freezes?

  1. Turn the unit completely off at the thermostat, and don’t try to thaw the system by increasing the temperature at the thermostat. Just make sure 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 along with any return air filters. Open all the registers completely and verify that they are not blocked by furniture or curtains.
  3. Call Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning. The air conditioning system needs to be professionally inspected 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 a pricey repair. When your unit ices over it can lead to a compressor replacement. Replacing your compressor can cost as much as a downpayment on a new system. Unfortunately, many homeowners are forced to decide between installing a new system or repairing the damaged model. If you act quickly and call a NATE-certified technician, you have better odds of having a less expensive emergency.

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