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, enjoying a bowl of popcorn and watching a movie, when suddenly he/she hears awful sound; drip... drip... drip. They look over to see the cat licking at a puddle that's gradually forming on the dining room floor. Suddenly: Concern, stress, and that sinking 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 climate.

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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. 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 does not 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 A/C completely off at the thermostat, and do not just move up the temperature on 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 drapes.
  3. Call Midway Services. 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 turn into a costly repair. When your air conditioner ices over it can lead to damage to the compressor. Replacing your compressor could cost as much as a downpayment on a high efficiency model. Actually, many homeowners are forced to decide between installing a new system vs repairing the damaged one. If you follow the steps above and quickly 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 occurring in the future. If a leak exists (and that is rare, but possible), the leak has to be repaired or the unit will most likely freeze again.
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