How to Fix a Frozen Air Conditioner

February 23, 2015

Summer’s coming (as hard as it is to believe right now) and here's an often cited scenario with the average homeowner: They’re relaxing in their living room, minding their own business, having a bowl of popcorn and watching their favorite TV show, when all of a sudden – that distant awful sound; drip... drip... drip. They glance over to see the household pet licking at a puddle that's steadily forming on the bathroom floor. In a flash: Anxiety, stress, and that sinking feeling. What caused the leak?; water heater, leaky toilet, shower, faucet? No – the central air conditioner is frozen solid. This can occur anywhere, from Fort Myers to Thailand, regardless of weather.

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

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

Either way, the ending effect is that the air conditioner's evaporator coil does not properly dissipate heat, and in effect 'overcools' itself. The net effect of this super-cooling is condensation (that's water formation), and over time ice forms from that condensation as it cools below the freezing point. In short, the A/C has morphed into an old-school icebox.

What Might 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. Just make sure 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 along with any return air filters. Open all the registers completely and ensure that they are not impeded by furniture or drapes.
  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 become an expensive repair. When your AC freezes over it can lead to a totaled compressor. Replacing your compressor could cost as much as a downpayment on a high efficiency model. In fact, many people are forced to choose between installing a new system vs repairing the old model. If you follow the steps above and quickly call a NATE-certified technician, you have better odds of getting a less expensive job.

Your technician will diagnose the situation and how to avoid the issue from occurring in the future. If a leak exists (and that is rare, but possible), the leak has to be repaired or the unit will likely freeze again.
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