How to Fix a Frozen Air Conditioner

February 23, 2015

Summer’s coming (we promise) and here's a typical scenario with the average homeowner: They’re relaxing in their living room, minding their own business, enjoying a bowl of popcorn and watching Netflix, when suddenly he/she hears awful sound; drip... drip... drip. They look over to see the cat licking at a puddle that's slowly forming on the kitchen floor. Just like that, the mood changes: Anxiety, stress, and that “how much will this cost?” 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 West Palm Beach to Timbuktu, regardless of weather.

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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 West Palm Beach area home. There are two primary reasons the evaporator coil may freeze:

  1. Restricted air flow
  2. Low refrigerant

Either way, the outcome is that the air conditioner's evaporator coil does not properly disperse the heat, and consequently 'overcools' itself. The net effect of this super-cooling is condensation (that's water formation), and finally ice forms from that condensation as it cools below the freezing point. In short, the A/C has morphed into an old-school icebox.

What Should 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. 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 confirm that they are not obstructed by furniture or drapery.
  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 ices over it can lead to a compressor replacement. Replacing your compressor could cost as much as a downpayment on a new system. Actually, many people are forced to decide between installing a new system and 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 advise you of the exact cause 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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