How to Fix a Frozen Air Conditioner

February 23, 2015

Summer’s coming (believe it or not) 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 Netflix, when all of a sudden – that distant terrible sound; drip... drip... drip. They look over to see the dog licking at a puddle that's slowly forming on the kitchen floor. In a flash: Concern, stress, and that “how much will this cost?” feeling. Where did the leak come from?; water heater, leaky toilet, shower, faucet? Nope – the central air conditioner is frozen solid. This can strike anywhere, from Alliance to Africa, regardless of climate.

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 Alliance area home. The two main reasons why the evaporator coil may freeze:

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

Either way, the result is that the air conditioner's evaporator coil will be unable to properly transfer heat, and in effect 'overcools' itself. The net effect of this super-cooling is condensation (that's water formation), and eventually ice forms from that condensation as it cools below the freezing point. In other words, the A/C transformed into an old-school icebox.

What Should 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. Just make sure the A/C system is completely OFF.
  2. Confirm that there is nothing restricting the airflow to the system. 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 blocked by furniture or drapes.
  3. 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 person right away.

What Does it Cost to Repair?

This can lead to a costly repair. When your unit ices over it can lead to damage to the compressor. Replacing your compressor can cost as much as a downpayment on a high efficiency model. Actually, many people are forced to pick between installing a new system vs repairing the damaged unit. If you act quickly and call a ACE-certified technician, you have better odds of getting a less expensive repair.

Your technician will quickly analyze the problem and how to avoid the issue from occurring in the future. 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.