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 at home, minding their own business, enjoying a bowl of popcorn and watching their favorite TV show, when they notice that awful sound; drip... drip... drip. They turn their head to see the dog licking at a puddle that's slowly forming on the kitchen floor. Suddenly: Concern, stress, and that ”oh brother!” feeling. How did the leak start?; water heater, leaky toilet, shower, faucet? Not necessarily – it's the air conditioner of all things. This can occur anywhere, from Calgary to Timbuktu, regardless of summer heat.

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Why Air Conditioners Freeze

The evaporator coil is the component of a central A/C unit that actually freezes. This component of the air conditioner transfers (evaporates) heat from the inside to the outside of your Calgary area home. The two main reasons why the evaporator coil may freeze:

  1. Restricted air flow
  2. Lack of sufficient refrigerant

Either way, the ending effect is that the air conditioner's evaporator coil cannot operate to properly disperse the heat, and in effect '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 has morphed into an old-school icebox.

What Can You Do When Your A/C Freezes?

  1. Turn the A/C completely off at the thermostat, and do not increase the thermostat temperature as a way to melt the frost on the coils. Ensure the A/C system is completely OFF.
  2. Confirm that there is nothing restricting the airflow to the system. 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 drapes.
  3. Call Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning. The air conditioning system needs to be professionally inspected 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 pricey repair. When your AC freezes over it can lead to a compressor replacement. Replacing your compressor can cost as much as a downpayment on a brand new air conditioner. Actually, many people 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 have better odds of having a less expensive emergency.

Your technician will advise you of the exact cause and how to avoid the issue from repeating in the future. If a leak exists (and that is rare, but possible), the leak has to be repaired or the unit will likely freeze again.
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