How to Fix a Frozen Air Conditioner 

Summer’s coming (believe it or not) and here’s an often cited scenario with the average homeowner: They’re at home, minding their own business, enjoying a bowl of popcorn and watching Netflix, when they notice that terrible sound; drip… drip… drip. They look over to see the cat licking at a puddle that’s gradually forming on the kitchen floor. Just like that, the mood changes: Worry, stress, and that sinking feeling. How did the leak start?; water heater, leaky toilet, shower, faucet? No – the air conditioning equipment may be frozen. This can happen anywhere, from Philadelphia to Thailand, regardless of summer heat.

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

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

Either way, the outcome is that the air conditioner’s evaporator coil will be unable to properly transfer heat, and in effect ‘overcools’ itself. The net effect of this super-cooling is condensation (that’s water formation), and finally ice forms from that condensation as it cools below the freezing point. In other words, the A/C transformed into an old-school icebox.

What Should You Do When Your A/C Freezes?

    • Turn the unit 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.
    • Check to ensure that the airflow around your system is unrestricted. Replace the furnace or air handler’s filter and replace any return air filters. Open all the registers completely and ensure that they are not impeded by furniture or drapery.

What Does it Cost to Repair?

This can turn into a costly repair. When your AC 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. In fact, many people are forced to pick between installing a new system or repairing the damaged model. If you follow the steps above and quickly call a ACE-certified technician, you stand a better chance of getting 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 exists (and that is rare, but possible), the leak has to be repaired or the unit will most likely freeze again.

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