How to Fix a Frozen Air Conditioner

February 23, 2015

Summer’s coming (believe it or not) and here's a common scenario with the average homeowner: They’re at home, minding their own business, happily indulging a bowl of popcorn and watching a movie, when suddenly he/she hears dreadful sound; drip... drip... drip. They turn their head to see the cat licking at a puddle that's slowly forming on the bathroom floor. In a flash: Concern, stress, and that sinking feeling. Where did the leak come from?; water heater, leaky toilet, shower, faucet? Nope – the air conditioning equipment may be frozen. This can occur anywhere, from Kitchener to Africa, regardless of climate.

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

  1. The restriction of the system’s airflow
  2. Insufficient refrigerant

Either way, the outcome is that the air conditioner's evaporator coil does not properly dissipate 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. 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 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. Do what you can to ensure airflow is not restricted. Replace the furnace or air handler's filter as well as any return air filters. Open all the registers completely and ensure that they are not obstructed by furniture or curtains.
  3. Call Boehmers/Cronin Emery Service Experts. The air conditioning system needs to be inspected by a NATE-certified professional 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 turn into a costly repair. When your AC freezes over it can lead to damage to the compressor. Replacing your compressor could cost as much as a downpayment on a new system. In fact, many people are forced to choose between installing a new system or repairing the damaged unit. If you follow the steps above and quickly call a NATE-certified technician, you have better odds of getting a less expensive repair.

Your technician will diagnose the situation and how to avoid the issue from repeating in the future. If a leak is present (and that is rare, but possible), the leak has to be repaired or the unit will probably freeze again.
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