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, enjoying a bowl of popcorn and watching their favorite TV show, when they notice that dreadful sound; drip... drip... drip. They look over to see the dog licking at a puddle that's slowly forming on the bathroom floor. Suddenly: Concern, stress, and that “how much will this cost?” feeling. How did the leak start?; water heater, leaky toilet, shower, faucet? No – 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

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 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 result 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. 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. Confirm that there is nothing restricting the airflow to the system. 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 drapes.
  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 unit freezes over it can lead to a compressor replacement. Replacing your compressor could cost as much as a downpayment on a high efficiency model. Unfortunately, many people are forced to choose between installing a new system or repairing the damaged unit. If you act quickly and 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 exists (and that is rare, but possible), the leak has to be repaired or the unit will probably freeze again.
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