How to Fix a Frozen Air Conditioner

February 23, 2015

Summer’s coming (we promise) 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 Netflix, when suddenly he/she hears awful 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: Anxiety, stress, and that sinking feeling. How did the leak start?; water heater, leaky toilet, shower, faucet? Not necessarily – it's the air conditioner of all things. This can strike anywhere, from Memphis to Timbuktu, 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 Memphis 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 ending effect is that the air conditioner's evaporator coil cannot operate to properly transfer 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. In short, the A/C has morphed into an old-school icebox.

What Can You Do When Your A/C Freezes?

  1. Turn the unit completely off at the thermostat, and do not just move up the temperature on the thermostat. Ensure 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 confirm that they are not impeded by furniture or curtains.
  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 turn into a costly repair. When your AC ices over it can lead to damage to the compressor. Replacing your compressor could easily cost as much as a downpayment on a brand new air conditioner. In fact, many homeowners are forced to pick between installing a new system or repairing the damaged model. If you move fast, follow the instructions, and call a NATE-certified technician, you stand a better chance of getting a less expensive job.

Your technician will quickly analyze the problem and how to avoid the issue from happening again. If a leak is present (and that is rare, but possible), the leak has to be repaired or the unit will most likely freeze again.
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