How to Fix a Frozen Air Conditioner

February 23, 2015

Summer’s coming (we promise) and here's an all-to-familiar scenario with the average homeowner: They’re at home, minding their own business, happily indulging a bowl of popcorn and watching Netflix, when suddenly he/she hears terrible sound; drip... drip... drip. They glance over to see the dog licking at a puddle that's gradually forming on the kitchen floor. In a flash: Anxiety, stress, and that sinking feeling. Where did the leak come from?; water heater, leaky toilet, shower, faucet? No – the air conditioning equipment may be frozen. This can strike anywhere, from Orlando to Africa, regardless of climate.

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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 Orlando 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 ending effect is that the air conditioner's evaporator coil will be unable to properly disperse the heat, and in effect 'overcools' itself. The impact 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 short, the A/C just turned 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 do not just move up the temperature on the thermostat. It is important that the A/C system is completely OFF.
  2. Do what you can to ensure airflow is not restricted. 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 drapery.
  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 turn into a costly repair. When your AC ices over it can lead to damage to the compressor. Replacing your compressor could cost as much as a downpayment on a new system. Actually, many people are forced to choose between installing a new system and repairing the damaged unit. If you follow the steps above and quickly call a NATE-certified technician, you have better odds of getting a less expensive emergency.

Your technician will quickly analyze the problem and how to avoid the issue from repeating in the future. If a leak is present (and that is rare, but possible), the leak has to be repaired or the unit will probably freeze again.
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