How to Fix a Frozen Air Conditioner

February 23, 2015

Summer’s coming (believe it or not) and here's a typical scenario with the average homeowner: They’re at home, minding their own business, having a bowl of popcorn and watching a movie, when all of a sudden – that distant awful sound; drip... drip... drip. They glance over to see the dog licking at a puddle that's slowly forming on the dining room floor. Suddenly: Worry, stress, and that “how much will this cost?” feeling. What caused the leak?; water heater, leaky toilet, shower, faucet? Nope – the air conditioning equipment may be frozen. This can happen anywhere, from Kitchener to Thailand, regardless of weather.

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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 Kitchener area home. There are two primary reasons the evaporator coil may freeze:

  1. Airflow restriction
  2. Insufficient refrigerant

Either way, the ending effect is that the air conditioner's evaporator coil does not properly disperse the heat, and in essence 'overcools' itself. The impact 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. Yep, the A/C transformed into an old-school icebox.

What Should You Do When Your A/C Freezes?

  1. Turn the system completely off at the thermostat, and don’t try to thaw the system by increasing the temperature at the thermostat. 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 and replace any return air filters. Open all the registers completely and ensure that they are not impeded by furniture or curtains.
  3. Call Hammond Home Services by Enercare. 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 lead to a costly repair. When your air conditioner freezes over it can lead to damage to the compressor. Replacing your compressor can cost as much as a downpayment on a high efficiency model. Unfortunately, many people are forced to pick between installing a new system or repairing the old one. If you move fast, follow the instructions, and call a ACE-certified technician, you have better odds of having a less expensive emergency.

Your technician will diagnose the situation and how to avoid the issue from repeating in the future. If a leak was really the cause (and that is rare, but possible), the leak has to be repaired or the unit will most likely freeze again.
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