How to Fix a Frozen Air Conditioner

February 23, 2015

Summer’s coming (believe it or not) and here's a typical scenario with the average homeowner: They’re at home, minding their own business, enjoying a bowl of popcorn and watching a movie, when all of a sudden – that distant terrible sound; drip... drip... drip. They look over to see the dog licking at a puddle that's steadily forming on the dining room floor. Suddenly: Concern, stress, and that sinking feeling. Where did the leak come from?; water heater, leaky toilet, shower, faucet? Not necessarily – the central air conditioner is frozen solid. This can occur anywhere, from La Porte 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 La Porte area home. Usually there are two factors why the evaporator coil may freeze:

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

Either way, the ending effect is that the air conditioner's evaporator coil does not properly dissipate heat, and in essence 'overcools' itself. The result 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 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 don’t try to thaw the system by increasing the temperature at the thermostat. 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 as well as any return air filters. Open all the registers completely and verify that they are not blocked by furniture or drapery.
  3. Call Finch Air Conditioning & Heating. The air conditioning system needs to be inspected by a NATE-certified professional 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 damage to the compressor. Replacing your compressor could cost as much as a downpayment on a high efficiency model. Unfortunately, many homeowners are forced to pick between installing a new system or 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 repair.

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