How to Fix a Frozen Air Conditioner

February 23, 2015

Summer’s coming (we promise) and here's a common scenario with the average homeowner: They’re relaxing in their living room, minding their own business, enjoying a bowl of popcorn and watching a movie, when suddenly he/she hears terrible sound; drip... drip... drip. They look over to see the household pet licking at a puddle that's gradually forming on the kitchen floor. In a flash: Concern, stress, and that ”oh brother!” feeling. Where did the leak come from?; water heater, leaky toilet, shower, faucet? No – the central air conditioner is frozen solid. This can strike anywhere, from Longmont to Timbuktu, 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 Longmont area home. The two main reasons why the evaporator coil may freeze:

  1. Restricted air flow
  2. Insufficient 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 net effect 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 just turned into an old-school icebox.

What Should 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. Confirm that there is nothing restricting the airflow to the system. Replace the furnace or air handler's filter along with any return air filters. Open all the registers completely and ensure that they are not blocked 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 an expensive repair. When your air conditioner freezes over it can lead to a compressor replacement. Replacing your compressor could cost as much as a downpayment on a new system. In fact, many people are forced to pick between installing a new system and repairing the damaged one. If you move fast, follow the instructions, and call a NATE-certified technician, you stand a better chance of getting a less expensive job.

Your technician will advise you of the exact cause and how to avoid the issue from happening again. If a leak is present (and that is rare, but possible), the leak has to be repaired or the unit will likely freeze again.
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