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 an often cited scenario with the average homeowner: They’re sitting in their house, minding their own business, enjoying a bowl of popcorn and watching their favorite TV show, when suddenly he/she hears awful sound; drip... drip... drip. They glance over to see the cat licking at a puddle that's slowly forming on the dining room floor. In a flash: Worry, stress, and that “how much will this cost?” feeling. How did the leak start?; water heater, leaky toilet, shower, faucet? Nope – it's the air conditioner of all things. This can strike anywhere, from West Chester 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 West Chester area home. There are two primary reasons 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 cannot operate to properly dissipate heat, and in effect 'overcools' itself. The impact of this super-cooling is condensation (that's water formation), and finally ice forms from that condensation as it cools below the freezing point. Yep, 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. It is important that 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 and replace any return air filters. Open all the registers completely and verify that they are not blocked by furniture or drapes.
  3. Call Wesley Wood 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 a costly repair. When your unit freezes over it can lead to a totaled compressor. Replacing your compressor can cost as much as a downpayment on a new system. Actually, many homeowners are forced to pick between installing a new system vs repairing the damaged unit. 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 diagnose the situation and how to avoid the issue from happening again. 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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