Why Your Home's A/C Freezes Up In Summer
Here's the all-to-familiar scenario with our average homeowner, whom we'll call Frank. He's at home, minding his own business, happily a bowl of popcorn and a b-movie... when he notices that awful sound; drip... drip... drip... Frank looks over to see the cat licking at a puddle that's slowly forming on the kitchen floor. Suddenly: worry, stress, and that awful sinking feeling. What will the leak mean for his budget, and where did it come from; water heater, leaky toilet, shower, faucet? Nope. It's the air conditioner of all things. Frank's central air conditioner is frozen solid. But, there's hope.
How Air Conditioners Freeze
When a central air conditioner freezes up, what actually freezes is the condensor unit's evaporator coil. This is the part of the air conditioning system that transfers (evaporates) heat from the inside to the outside of the home. There are two primary reasons the evaporator coil may freeze, it can either be due to 1) restricted air flow, or 2) lack of sufficient refrigerant. Either way, the result 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 eventually ice from that condensation as it cools below the freezing point. Yep, the A/C just turned into an old-school icebox.
What To Do When Your A/C Freezes
No need to panic Frank. Here's help:
- Turn the system completely off at the thermostat, and do not just move up the temperature on the thermostat. Flip the switch or push the button Frank... until the entire heating and A/C system is completely OFF.
- Do what you can to ensure air flow is not restricted. Replace the furnace or air handler's filter and replace any return air filters. Open all the registers completely and ensure they are not blocked by furniture or drapery.
- 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 body right away.
That's it. Your technician will advise you of the exact cause 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 likely freeze again.