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 common scenario with the average homeowner: They’re sitting in their house, minding their own business, happily indulging a bowl of popcorn and watching a movie, when suddenly he/she hears terrible sound; drip... drip... drip. They look over to see the household pet licking at a puddle that's gradually forming on the bathroom floor. Suddenly: Anxiety, stress, and that “how much will this cost?” feeling. What caused the leak?; water heater, leaky toilet, shower, faucet? Not necessarily – the central air conditioner is frozen solid. This can occur anywhere, from Fort Wayne to Thailand, 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 Fort Wayne area home. Usually there are two factors why the evaporator coil may freeze:

  1. Restricted air flow
  2. Insufficient refrigerant

Either way, the ending effect is that the air conditioner's evaporator coil will be unable to properly dissipate heat, and in essence '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 has morphed 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. Just make sure 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 verify that they are not obstructed by furniture or drapery.
  3. Call Rolf Griffin 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 a costly repair. When your AC ices over it can lead to a totaled compressor. Replacing your compressor can cost as much as a downpayment on a high efficiency model. Unfortunately, many people are forced to choose between installing a new system or repairing the old one. If you move fast, follow the instructions, and call a NATE-certified technician, you stand a better chance of getting a less expensive emergency.

Your technician will diagnose the situation and how to avoid the issue from repeating in the future. 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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