How to Fix a Frozen Air Conditioner

February 23, 2015

Summer’s coming (we promise) and here's a typical scenario with the average homeowner: They’re relaxing in their living room, minding their own business, happily indulging a bowl of popcorn and watching Netflix, when suddenly he/she hears dreadful sound; drip... drip... drip. They glance over to see the household pet licking at a puddle that's steadily forming on the bathroom floor. Just like that, the mood changes: Anxiety, stress, and that “how much will this cost?” feeling. What caused the leak?; water heater, leaky toilet, shower, faucet? Nope – it's the air conditioner of all things. This can happen anywhere, from Kansas City to Thailand, regardless of summer heat.

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

  1. Restricted air flow
  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 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 transformed into an old-school icebox.

What Should You Do When Your A/C Freezes?

  1. Turn the A/C 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 along with any return air filters. Open all the registers completely and verify that they are not obstructed by furniture or curtains.
  3. Call Neal Harris Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing. 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 lead to an expensive repair. When your air conditioner ices 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 homeowners are forced to decide between installing a new system or repairing the old model. If you move fast, follow the instructions, and call a NATE-certified technician, you stand a better chance 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 likely freeze again.
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