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 relaxing in their living room, minding their own business, enjoying a bowl of popcorn and watching their favorite TV show, when they notice that terrible sound; drip… drip… drip. They turn their head to see the cat licking at a puddle that’s slowly forming on the dining room floor. In a flash: Worry, stress, and that ”oh brother!” feeling. What caused the leak?; water heater, leaky toilet, shower, faucet? Not necessarily – it’s the air conditioner of all things. This can happen anywhere, from the U.S. to Africa, regardless of summer heat.

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 the U.S. area home. There are two primary reasons the evaporator coil may freeze:

    1. The restriction of the system’s airflow
    1. Insufficient refrigerant

Either way, the ending effect is that the air conditioner’s evaporator coil will be unable to properly dissipate heat, and in essence ‘overcools’ itself. The result of this super-cooling is condensation (that’s water formation), and finally ice forms from that condensation as it cools below the freezing point. Yep, the A/C just turned into an old-school icebox.

What Can You Do When Your A/C Freezes?

    • Turn the unit completely off at the thermostat, and do not increase the thermostat temperature as a way to melt the frost on the coils. Ensure the A/C system is completely OFF.
    • Check to ensure that the airflow around your system is unrestricted. 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 impeded by furniture or drapes.

What Does it Cost to Repair?

This can turn into a pricey repair. When your AC ices over it can lead to damage to the compressor. Replacing your compressor can cost as much as a downpayment on a brand new air conditioner. Unfortunately, many people are forced to decide between installing a new system vs repairing the old unit. If you follow the steps above and quickly call a ACE-certified technician, you have better odds 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 likely freeze again.

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