How to Fix a Frozen Air Conditioner
Summer’s coming (we promise) and here’s an all-to-familiar scenario with the average homeowner: They’re sitting in their house, minding their own business, happily indulging a bowl of popcorn and watching their favorite TV show, when they notice that terrible sound; drip… drip… drip. They look over to see the dog licking at a puddle that’s steadily forming on the dining room floor. In a flash: Anxiety, stress, and that “how much will this cost?” feeling. Where did the leak come from?; water heater, leaky toilet, shower, faucet? Nope – it’s the air conditioner of all things. This can happen anywhere, from the U.S. to Timbuktu, regardless of climate.
Why Air Conditioners Freeze
When a central air conditioner freezes up, what actually freezes is the condenser unit’s evaporator coil. This component of the air conditioner transfers (evaporates) heat from the inside to the outside of your the U.S. area home. There are two primary reasons the evaporator coil may freeze:
- Airflow restriction
- Lack of sufficient refrigerant
Either way, the outcome is that the air conditioner’s evaporator coil cannot operate to properly dissipate 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 short, the A/C just turned into an old-school icebox.
What Can You Do When Your A/C Freezes?
- Turn the A/C 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.
- Confirm that there is nothing restricting the airflow to the system. 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 obstructed by furniture or drapes.
- Call Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing. 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 turn into an expensive repair. When your AC freezes over it can lead to damage to the compressor. Replacing your compressor could easily cost as much as a downpayment on a new system. In fact, many homeowners are forced to choose between installing a new system vs repairing the old one. If you follow the steps above and quickly call a ACE-certified technician, you stand a better chance of getting a less expensive repair.
Your technician will advise you of the exact cause and how to avoid the issue from occurring in the future. If a leak exists (and that is rare, but possible), the leak has to be repaired or the unit will probably freeze again.
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