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 all-to-familiar scenario with the average homeowner: They’re sitting in their house, minding their own business, enjoying a bowl of popcorn and watching their favorite TV show, when suddenly he/she hears dreadful sound; drip... drip... drip. They look over to see the cat licking at a puddle that's gradually forming on the dining room floor. In a flash: Worry, 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 strike anywhere, from Saint Charles to Timbuktu, regardless of summer heat.

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

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

Either way, the result is that the air conditioner's evaporator coil does not properly disperse the heat, and in essence 'overcools' itself. The net effect of this super-cooling is condensation (that's water formation), and eventually ice forms from that condensation as it cools below the freezing point. Yep, the A/C transformed 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 increase the thermostat temperature as a way to melt the frost on the coils. Ensure 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 as well as any return air filters. Open all the registers completely and verify that they are not impeded by furniture or curtains.
  3. Call Golden Seal 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 turn into a pricey repair. When your AC freezes over it can lead to a totaled compressor. Replacing your compressor can cost as much as a downpayment on a brand new air conditioner. In fact, many homeowners are forced to decide between installing a new system or repairing the damaged unit. If you move fast, follow the instructions, and call a NATE-certified technician, you have better odds of getting 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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