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 at home, minding their own business, enjoying a bowl of popcorn and watching a movie, when suddenly he/she hears awful sound; drip... drip... drip. They look over to see the household pet licking at a puddle that's steadily forming on the dining room floor. In a flash: Concern, stress, and that ”oh brother!” feeling. Where did the leak come from?; water heater, leaky toilet, shower, faucet? No – the air conditioning equipment may be frozen. This can happen anywhere, from Gaithersburg to Africa, regardless of summer heat.

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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 Gaithersburg area home. Usually there are two factors why the evaporator coil may freeze:

  1. Airflow restriction
  2. Low refrigerant

Either way, the result is that the air conditioner's evaporator coil does not properly disperse the heat, and consequently '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 has morphed into an old-school icebox.

What Should 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. 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 ensure that they are not obstructed by furniture or drapes.
  3. Call Parker Pearce 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 an expensive repair. When your air conditioner ices over it can lead to damage to the compressor. Replacing your compressor could easily cost as much as a downpayment on a new system. Actually, many homeowners 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 stand a better chance of having a less expensive job.

Your technician will advise you of the exact cause and how to avoid the issue from occurring 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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