How to Fix a Frozen Air Conditioner 

Summer’s coming (as hard as it is to believe right now) 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 a movie, when suddenly he/she hears dreadful sound; drip… drip… drip. They look over to see the household pet licking at a puddle that’s gradually forming on the kitchen floor. Suddenly: Worry, stress, and that ”oh brother!” feeling. How did the leak start?; water heater, leaky toilet, shower, faucet? No – the air conditioning equipment may be frozen. This can occur anywhere, from Columbus to Timbuktu, regardless of weather.

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

    1. Airflow restriction
    1. Lack of sufficient refrigerant

Either way, the outcome is that the air conditioner’s evaporator coil does not properly disperse the heat, and consequently ‘overcools’ itself. The impact 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. In other words, the A/C has morphed into an old-school icebox.

What Should You Do When Your A/C Freezes?

    • Turn the A/C 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.
    • Do what you can to ensure airflow is not restricted. 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 obstructed by furniture or curtains.

What Does it Cost to Repair?

This can become a costly repair. When your unit freezes over it can lead to damage to the compressor. Replacing your compressor could easily cost as much as a downpayment on a brand new air conditioner. In fact, many people are forced to choose between installing a new system vs repairing the damaged model. If you move fast, follow the instructions, and call a ACE-certified technician, you have better odds of having a less expensive job.

Your technician will advise you of the exact cause 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 probably freeze again.

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