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 a movie, when suddenly he/she hears awful sound; drip... drip... drip. They look over to see the dog licking at a puddle that's steadily forming on the bathroom floor. In a flash: Concern, stress, and that ”oh brother!” feeling. Where did the leak come from?; water heater, leaky toilet, shower, faucet? Nope – it's the air conditioner of all things. This can happen anywhere, from Cleveland to Timbuktu, regardless of weather.

Free HVAC for dummies ebook

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

  1. Airflow restriction
  2. Insufficient refrigerant

Either way, the outcome is that the air conditioner's evaporator coil does not properly dissipate heat, and in essence 'overcools' itself. The net effect 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 other words, the A/C has morphed 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. It is important that 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 as well as any return air filters. Open all the registers completely and confirm that they are not blocked by furniture or drapery.
  3. Call Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning. The air conditioning system needs to be inspected by a NATE-certified professional 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 air conditioner ices over it can lead to a totaled compressor. Replacing your compressor could easily cost as much as a downpayment on a new system. In fact, many homeowners are forced to pick between installing a new system or repairing the damaged model. If you act quickly and call a NATE-certified technician, you have better odds of having a less expensive job.

Your technician will advise you of the exact cause 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.
Contact Us