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 relaxing in their living room, minding their own business, having a bowl of popcorn and watching a movie, when they notice that terrible sound; drip... drip... drip. They glance over to see the household pet licking at a puddle that's gradually forming on the kitchen floor. Suddenly: Worry, stress, and that sinking feeling. What caused the leak?; water heater, leaky toilet, shower, faucet? No – the central air conditioner is frozen solid. This can strike anywhere, from Concord to Thailand, regardless of climate.

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Why Air Conditioners Freeze

The evaporator coil is the component of a central A/C unit that actually freezes. This component of the air conditioner transfers (evaporates) heat from the inside to the outside of your Concord area home. The two main reasons why the evaporator coil may freeze:

  1. Airflow restriction
  2. Lack of sufficient refrigerant

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

What Can You Do When Your A/C Freezes?

  1. Turn the unit completely off at the thermostat, and do not increase the thermostat temperature as a way to melt the frost on the coils. Ensure 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 along with any return air filters. Open all the registers completely and confirm that they are not impeded by furniture or drapery.
  3. Call Freschi Service Experts. The air conditioning system needs to be serviced by a professional that is NATE-certified 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 freezes over it can lead to a compressor replacement. Replacing your compressor could cost as much as a downpayment on a brand new air conditioner. Unfortunately, many homeowners are forced to pick between installing a new system or repairing the old one. If you follow the steps above and quickly call a NATE-certified technician, you have better odds of having a less expensive emergency.

Your technician will advise you of the exact cause and how to avoid the issue from occurring in the future. If a leak exists (and that is rare, but possible), the leak has to be repaired or the unit will likely freeze again.
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