How to Fix a Frozen Air Conditioner

February 23, 2015

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, happily indulging a bowl of popcorn and watching their favorite TV show, when they notice that awful sound; drip... drip... drip. They glance over to see the cat licking at a puddle that's steadily forming on the dining room floor. Suddenly: Worry, stress, and that “how much will this cost?” feeling. How did the leak start?; water heater, leaky toilet, shower, faucet? No – the central air conditioner is frozen solid. This can occur anywhere, from Ocala to Timbuktu, regardless of weather.

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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 Ocala area home. There are two primary reasons 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 cannot operate to properly transfer heat, and in essence 'overcools' itself. The result of this super-cooling is condensation (that's water formation), and eventually ice forms from that condensation as it cools below the freezing point. In short, the A/C has morphed into an old-school icebox.

What Should You Do When Your A/C Freezes?

  1. Turn the A/C completely off at the thermostat, and do not just move up the temperature on the thermostat. It is important that the A/C system is completely OFF.
  2. 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 drapes.
  3. Call 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 become an expensive repair. When your unit freezes over it can lead to a totaled compressor. Replacing your compressor could cost as much as a downpayment on a high efficiency model. Unfortunately, many homeowners are forced to decide between installing a new system or repairing the damaged one. If you act quickly and call a NATE-certified technician, you have better odds of getting a less expensive job.

Your technician will diagnose the situation 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 probably freeze again.
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