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 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 look over to see the cat licking at a puddle that's gradually forming on the kitchen floor. Just like that, the mood changes: Anxiety, stress, and that ”oh brother!” feeling. How did the leak start?; water heater, leaky toilet, shower, faucet? Nope – the air conditioning equipment may be frozen. This can occur anywhere, from Miami to Timbuktu, regardless of weather.

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

  1. Airflow restriction
  2. Low refrigerant

Either way, the outcome is that the air conditioner's evaporator coil does not properly transfer 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 Can You Do When Your A/C Freezes?

  1. Turn the system completely off at the thermostat, and do not just move up the temperature on the thermostat. Ensure the A/C system is completely OFF.
  2. Check to ensure that the airflow around your system is unrestricted. Replace the furnace or air handler's filter as well as any return air filters. Open all the registers completely and confirm that they are not obstructed by furniture or curtains.
  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 pricey repair. When your air conditioner ices over it can lead to a compressor replacement. Replacing your compressor could easily cost as much as a downpayment on a new system. Actually, many homeowners are forced to pick between installing a new system or repairing the old one. If you move fast, follow the instructions, and call a NATE-certified technician, you stand a better chance of having a less expensive repair.

Your technician will quickly analyze the problem and how to avoid the issue from occurring 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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