How to Fix a Frozen Air Conditioner

February 23, 2015

Summer’s coming (we promise) and here's a common scenario with the average homeowner: They’re relaxing in their living room, minding their own business, having a bowl of popcorn and watching their favorite TV show, when suddenly he/she hears terrible sound; drip... drip... drip. They glance over to see the dog licking at a puddle that's steadily forming on the dining room floor. Suddenly: Worry, stress, and that sinking feeling. What caused the leak?; water heater, leaky toilet, shower, faucet? Nope – it's the air conditioner of all things. This can strike anywhere, from Richmond to Thailand, regardless of climate.

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Why Air Conditioners Freeze

The part of the air conditioner that actually freezes is known as the evaporator coil. This component of the air conditioner transfers (evaporates) heat from the inside to the outside of your Richmond area home. There are two primary reasons 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 essence 'overcools' itself. The impact of this super-cooling is condensation (that's water formation), and eventually ice forms from that condensation as it cools below the freezing point. Yep, the A/C just turned into an old-school icebox.

What Might You Do When Your A/C Freezes?

  1. Turn the system completely off at the thermostat, and do not just move up the temperature on 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 and replace any return air filters. Open all the registers completely and ensure that they are not impeded by furniture or curtains.
  3. Call Eveready 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 become an expensive repair. When your air conditioner ices over it can lead to a compressor replacement. Replacing your compressor can cost as much as a downpayment on a new system. In fact, many people are forced to pick between installing a new system and repairing the old one. If you follow the steps above and quickly call a NATE-certified technician, you stand a better chance 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 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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