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 a movie, when suddenly he/she hears terrible sound; drip... drip... drip. They turn their head to see the cat licking at a puddle that's gradually forming on the dining room 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 Thailand, regardless of climate.

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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 Miami area home. The two main reasons why the evaporator coil may freeze:

  1. Restricted air flow
  2. Low refrigerant

Either way, the result is that the air conditioner's evaporator coil cannot operate to 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 short, 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 don’t try to thaw the system by increasing the temperature at 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 ensure that they are not blocked 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 job.

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 likely freeze again.
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