How to Fix a Frozen Air Conditioner

February 23, 2015

Summer’s coming (we promise) and here's an often cited 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 slowly forming on the bathroom floor. Just like that, the mood changes: Worry, stress, and that sinking feeling. What caused the leak?; water heater, leaky toilet, shower, faucet? No – it's the air conditioner of all things. This can happen anywhere, from Kansas City to Timbuktu, 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. There are two primary reasons 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 does not properly dissipate heat, and consequently 'overcools' itself. The impact of this super-cooling is condensation (that's water formation), and over time ice forms from that condensation as it cools below the freezing point. In other words, the A/C transformed 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. Just make sure 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 blocked by furniture or curtains.
  3. Call Neal Harris Service Experts. 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 a compressor replacement. Replacing your compressor can cost as much as a downpayment on a high efficiency model. In fact, many homeowners are forced to choose between installing a new system vs repairing the old one. 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 exists (and that is rare, but possible), the leak has to be repaired or the unit will probably freeze again.
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