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 a typical scenario with the average homeowner: They’re sitting in their house, minding their own business, enjoying a bowl of popcorn and watching Netflix, when suddenly he/she hears terrible sound; drip... drip... drip. They turn their head to see the cat licking at a puddle that's slowly forming on the kitchen floor. Suddenly: Anxiety, stress, and that ”oh brother!” 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 Albany to Africa, regardless of climate.

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Why Air Conditioners Freeze

The part of the air conditioner that actually freezes is known as the evaporator coil. This component of the air conditioner transfers (evaporates) heat from the inside to the outside of your Albany area home. The two main reasons why the evaporator coil may freeze:

  1. The restriction of the system’s airflow
  2. Insufficient 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 impact 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 Can 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. Ensure 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 along with any return air filters. Open all the registers completely and confirm that they are not blocked by furniture or drapery.
  3. Call Roland J. Down Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning. 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 become a pricey repair. When your unit ices over it can lead to a totaled compressor. Replacing your compressor could easily cost as much as a downpayment on a brand new air conditioner. Unfortunately, many homeowners are forced to decide between installing a new system or repairing the old model. If you act quickly and call a NATE-certified technician, you have better odds of having a less expensive repair.

Your technician will advise you of the exact cause 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 likely freeze again.
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