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 an all-to-familiar scenario with the average homeowner: They’re relaxing in their living room, minding their own business, having a bowl of popcorn and watching their favorite TV show, when suddenly he/she hears terrible sound; drip... drip... drip. They look over to see the dog licking at a puddle that's gradually forming on the bathroom floor. Suddenly: Worry, stress, and that “how much will this cost?” feeling. What caused the leak?; water heater, leaky toilet, shower, faucet? Not necessarily – the air conditioning equipment may be frozen. This can strike anywhere, from Belleville to Timbuktu, regardless of summer heat.

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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 Belleville 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 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 short, the A/C has morphed into an old-school icebox.

What Should 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. Just make sure 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 verify that they are not impeded by furniture or curtains.
  3. Call D & K Heating 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 turn into a pricey repair. When your unit ices over it can lead to a compressor replacement. Replacing your compressor could easily cost as much as a downpayment on a brand new air conditioner. In fact, many people are forced to choose between installing a new system vs repairing the damaged 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 advise you of the exact cause and how to avoid the issue from happening again. If a leak is present (and that is rare, but possible), the leak has to be repaired or the unit will most likely freeze again.
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