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 a common scenario with the average homeowner: They’re relaxing in their living room, minding their own business, having a bowl of popcorn and watching their favorite TV show, when all of a sudden – that distant dreadful sound; drip... drip... drip. They turn their head to see the household pet licking at a puddle that's steadily forming on the kitchen floor. Suddenly: Worry, stress, and that sinking feeling. How did the leak start?; water heater, leaky toilet, shower, faucet? Nope – it's the air conditioner of all things. This can occur anywhere, from Albany to Timbuktu, 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 Albany area home. Usually there are two factors why the evaporator coil may freeze:

  1. The restriction of the system’s airflow
  2. Lack of sufficient refrigerant

Either way, the outcome 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 eventually ice forms from that condensation as it cools below the freezing point. In short, the A/C just turned into an old-school icebox.

What Can You Do When Your A/C Freezes?

  1. Turn the unit completely off at the thermostat, and do not just move up the temperature on the thermostat. Just make sure 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 along with any return air filters. Open all the registers completely and confirm that they are not blocked by furniture or drapery.
  3. Call D.A. Bennett Service Experts. 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 lead to an expensive 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. In fact, many people are forced to decide between installing a new system and repairing the old model. If you move fast, follow the instructions, and call a NATE-certified technician, you stand a better chance of having a less expensive job.

Your technician will quickly analyze the problem and how to avoid the issue from occurring 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 likely freeze again.
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