How to Fix a Frozen Air Conditioner

February 23, 2015

Summer’s coming (we promise) 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 they notice that dreadful sound; drip... drip... drip. They glance over to see the cat licking at a puddle that's gradually forming on the kitchen floor. Suddenly: Worry, stress, and that “how much will this cost?” feeling. How did the leak start?; water heater, leaky toilet, shower, faucet? Nope – the air conditioning equipment may be frozen. This can strike anywhere, from Wheeling to Timbuktu, regardless of summer heat.

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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 Wheeling area home. There are two primary reasons the evaporator coil may freeze:

  1. The restriction of the system’s airflow
  2. Low refrigerant

Either way, the outcome is that the air conditioner's evaporator coil cannot operate to properly transfer heat, and in effect 'overcools' itself. The result 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 transformed into an old-school icebox.

What Can You Do When Your A/C Freezes?

  1. Turn the system completely off at the thermostat, and do not just move up the temperature on the thermostat. Just make sure the A/C system is completely OFF.
  2. 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 verify that they are not obstructed by furniture or drapes.
  3. Call Comfort Masters 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 air conditioner freezes over it can lead to a totaled compressor. Replacing your compressor could cost as much as a downpayment on a new system. Unfortunately, many people are forced to choose between installing a new system or repairing the old model. If you follow the steps above and quickly call a NATE-certified technician, you have better odds of getting a less expensive job.

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