How to Fix a Frozen Air Conditioner

February 23, 2015

Summer’s coming (believe it or not) and here's a typical scenario with the average homeowner: They’re sitting in their house, minding their own business, having a bowl of popcorn and watching their favorite TV show, when they notice that awful sound; drip... drip... drip. They turn their head to see the household pet licking at a puddle that's steadily forming on the bathroom floor. Suddenly: Concern, stress, and that ”oh brother!” feeling. What caused the leak?; water heater, leaky toilet, shower, faucet? No – the central air conditioner is frozen solid. This can occur anywhere, from Cocoa to Thailand, regardless of summer heat.

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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 Cocoa area home. Usually there are two factors why the evaporator coil may freeze:

  1. Airflow restriction
  2. Lack of sufficient refrigerant

Either way, the outcome 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. In short, the A/C transformed into an old-school icebox.

What Can You Do When Your A/C Freezes?

  1. Turn the system completely off at the thermostat, and do not increase the thermostat temperature as a way to melt the frost on the coils. 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 verify that they are not obstructed by furniture or drapes.
  3. Call Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning. The air conditioning system needs to be serviced by a professional that is NATE-certified 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 air conditioner freezes over it can lead to a totaled compressor. Replacing your compressor could cost as much as a downpayment on a high efficiency model. Actually, many homeowners are forced to choose between installing a new system vs repairing the old unit. If you move fast, follow the instructions, and call a NATE-certified technician, you have better odds of having a less expensive repair.

Your technician will diagnose the situation and how to avoid the issue from repeating in the future. If a leak was really the cause (and that is rare, but possible), the leak has to be repaired or the unit will probably freeze again.
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