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 relaxing in their living room, minding their own business, happily indulging a bowl of popcorn and watching their favorite TV show, when suddenly he/she hears terrible sound; drip... drip... drip. They turn their head to see the dog licking at a puddle that's gradually forming on the kitchen floor. Suddenly: Concern, 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 happen anywhere, from Clearwater to Thailand, 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 Clearwater area home. The two main reasons why 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 cannot operate to properly dissipate heat, and in effect 'overcools' itself. The result of this super-cooling is condensation (that's water formation), and eventually ice forms from that condensation as it cools below the freezing point. Yep, the A/C transformed into an old-school icebox.

What Might 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. Ensure 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 as well as any return air filters. Open all the registers completely and verify that they are not impeded by furniture or curtains.
  3. Call Midway Services. 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 turn into a costly repair. When your air conditioner ices over it can lead to damage to the compressor. Replacing your compressor could easily cost as much as a downpayment on a new system. Actually, many homeowners are forced to decide 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 getting a less expensive emergency.

Your technician will quickly analyze the problem 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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