How to Fix a Frozen Air Conditioner

February 23, 2015

Summer’s coming (believe it or not) and here's an all-to-familiar scenario with the average homeowner: They’re sitting in their house, 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 household pet licking at a puddle that's slowly forming on the dining room floor. In a flash: Worry, stress, and that ”oh brother!” feeling. What caused the leak?; water heater, leaky toilet, shower, faucet? Nope – the air conditioning equipment may be frozen. This can occur anywhere, from Fort Lauderdale to Timbuktu, regardless of weather.

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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 Lauderdale area home. The two main reasons why the evaporator coil may freeze:

  1. Restricted air flow
  2. Lack of sufficient refrigerant

Either way, the result is that the air conditioner's evaporator coil will be unable to properly dissipate heat, and in effect '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 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 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 along with any return air filters. Open all the registers completely and ensure that they are not blocked by furniture or curtains.
  3. Call Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning. 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 ices over it can lead to a totaled compressor. Replacing your compressor can cost as much as a downpayment on a new system. In fact, many homeowners are forced to decide between installing a new system or repairing the damaged 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 diagnose the situation and how to avoid the issue from happening again. 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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