How to Fix a Frozen Air Conditioner 

Summer’s coming (as hard as it is to believe right now) and here’s an often cited scenario with the average homeowner: They’re sitting in their house, minding their own business, having a bowl of popcorn and watching Netflix, when all of a sudden – that distant terrible sound; drip… drip… drip. They glance over to see the cat licking at a puddle that’s slowly forming on the kitchen floor. In a flash: Worry, stress, and that ”oh brother!” feeling. How did the leak start?; water heater, leaky toilet, shower, faucet? No – it’s the air conditioner of all things. This can strike anywhere, from Columbus to Timbuktu, regardless of weather.

Why Air Conditioners Freeze

When a central air conditioner freezes up, what actually freezes is the condenser unit’s evaporator coil. This component of the air conditioner transfers (evaporates) heat from the inside to the outside of your Columbus area home. The two main reasons why the evaporator coil may freeze:

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

Either way, the result is that the air conditioner’s evaporator coil does not properly transfer heat, and in effect ‘overcools’ itself. The net effect 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 short, the A/C transformed into an old-school icebox.

What Might You Do When Your A/C Freezes?

    • Turn the A/C 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.
    • 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 ensure that they are not blocked by furniture or drapery.

What Does it Cost to Repair?

This can become a pricey repair. When your AC freezes over it can lead to damage to the compressor. Replacing your compressor could easily cost as much as a downpayment on a high efficiency model. Unfortunately, many homeowners are forced to decide between installing a new system or repairing the damaged one. If you move fast, follow the instructions, and call a ACE-certified technician, you stand a better chance of having a less expensive repair.

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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