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 sitting in their house, minding their own business, happily indulging a bowl of popcorn and watching their favorite TV show, when suddenly he/she hears terrible sound; drip... drip... drip. They look over to see the dog licking at a puddle that's steadily forming on the bathroom floor. Suddenly: Worry, stress, and that “how much will this cost?” feeling. How did the leak start?; water heater, leaky toilet, shower, faucet? Not necessarily – the central air conditioner is frozen solid. This can happen anywhere, from Canada 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 Canada area home. The two main reasons why the evaporator coil may freeze:

  1. Restricted air flow
  2. Low refrigerant

Either way, the ending effect is that the air conditioner's evaporator coil does not properly transfer 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 has morphed into an old-school icebox.

What Might You Do When Your A/C Freezes?

  1. Turn the A/C completely off at the thermostat, and don’t try to thaw the system by increasing the temperature at the thermostat. It is important that 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 as well as any return air filters. Open all the registers completely and verify that they are not impeded by furniture or drapery.
  3. Call Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning. The air conditioning system needs to be inspected by a NATE-certified professional 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 air conditioner freezes over it can lead to a totaled compressor. Replacing your compressor can cost as much as a downpayment on a high efficiency model. In fact, many homeowners are forced to pick between installing a new system or repairing the damaged model. If you move fast, follow the instructions, and call a NATE-certified technician, you have better odds of having a less expensive job.

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 most likely freeze again.
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