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, enjoying a bowl of popcorn and watching Netflix, when they notice that terrible sound; drip... drip... drip. They turn their head to see the cat licking at a puddle that's gradually forming on the bathroom floor. Just like that, the mood changes: Worry, stress, and that ”oh brother!” feeling. What caused the leak?; water heater, leaky toilet, shower, faucet? Nope – it's the air conditioner of all things. This can happen anywhere, from Mobile to Timbuktu, regardless of summer heat.

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Why Air Conditioners Freeze

The evaporator coil is the component of a central A/C unit that actually freezes. This component of the air conditioner transfers (evaporates) heat from the inside to the outside of your Mobile area home. There are two primary reasons the evaporator coil may freeze:

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

Either way, the result is that the air conditioner's evaporator coil does not properly dissipate heat, and in effect 'overcools' itself. The impact 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 other words, the A/C has morphed into an old-school icebox.

What Can You Do When Your A/C Freezes?

  1. Turn the unit 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. Do what you can to ensure airflow is not restricted. Replace the furnace or air handler's filter as well as any return air filters. Open all the registers completely and ensure that they are not impeded by furniture or curtains.
  3. Call Climate Control 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 become a pricey repair. When your air conditioner ices over it can lead to a totaled compressor. Replacing your compressor could easily cost as much as a downpayment on a high efficiency model. Unfortunately, many people are forced to choose between installing a new system vs repairing the old one. If you follow the steps above and quickly call a NATE-certified technician, you stand a better chance of having a less expensive job.

Your technician will advise you of the exact cause 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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