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 relaxing in their living room, minding their own business, happily indulging a bowl of popcorn and watching a movie, when they notice that awful sound; drip... drip... drip. They look over to see the household pet licking at a puddle that's steadily forming on the bathroom floor. In a flash: Worry, stress, and that ”oh brother!” feeling. Where did the leak come from?; water heater, leaky toilet, shower, faucet? Not necessarily – the air conditioning equipment may be frozen. This can strike anywhere, from Fort Worth to Thailand, 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 Fort Worth area home. The two main reasons why the evaporator coil may freeze:

  1. Airflow restriction
  2. Low refrigerant

Either way, the outcome is that the air conditioner's evaporator coil cannot operate to properly transfer heat, and in essence 'overcools' itself. The result of this super-cooling is condensation (that's water formation), and finally ice forms from that condensation as it cools below the freezing point. Yep, the A/C just turned into an old-school icebox.

What Might You Do When Your A/C Freezes?

  1. Turn the unit 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. 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 blocked by furniture or drapes.
  3. Call Calverley Service Experts. 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 air conditioner freezes over it can lead to a compressor replacement. Replacing your compressor can cost as much as a downpayment on a brand new air conditioner. Actually, many homeowners are forced to choose between installing a new system vs repairing the old one. If you act quickly and call a ACE-certified technician, you have better odds of having a less expensive emergency.

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