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 at home, minding their own business, happily indulging a bowl of popcorn and watching Netflix, when they notice that dreadful sound; drip… drip… drip. They look over to see the household pet licking at a puddle that’s steadily forming on the bathroom floor. Suddenly: Anxiety, stress, and that ”oh brother!” feeling. How did the leak start?; water heater, leaky toilet, shower, faucet? No – the central air conditioner is frozen solid. This can happen anywhere, from the U.S. to Timbuktu, regardless of climate.

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

    1. Restricted air flow
    1. Low refrigerant

Either way, the result is that the air conditioner’s evaporator coil will be unable to properly dissipate heat, and in effect ‘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 Might You Do When Your A/C Freezes?

    • Turn the unit completely off at the thermostat, and do not just move up the temperature on the thermostat. Ensure the A/C system is completely OFF.
    • 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 verify that they are not blocked by furniture or drapes.

What Does it Cost to Repair?

This can become a pricey 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 brand new air conditioner. Unfortunately, many people are forced to choose between installing a new system or repairing the damaged one. If you follow the steps above and quickly call a ACE-certified technician, you stand a better chance of having a less expensive job.

Your technician will quickly analyze the problem and how to avoid the issue from happening again. If a leak was really the cause (and that is rare, but possible), the leak has to be repaired or the unit will most likely freeze again.

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