How to Fix a Frozen Air Conditioner

February 23, 2015

Summer’s coming (believe it or not) and here's a typical scenario with the average homeowner: They’re sitting in their house, minding their own business, happily indulging a bowl of popcorn and watching their favorite TV show, when they notice that terrible sound; drip... drip... drip. They glance over to see the dog licking at a puddle that's gradually forming on the kitchen floor. Just like that, the mood changes: Concern, stress, and that sinking 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 Charlotte to Thailand, regardless of summer heat.

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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 Charlotte area home. The two main reasons why the evaporator coil may freeze:

  1. Restricted air flow
  2. Low refrigerant

Either way, the outcome is that the air conditioner's evaporator coil cannot operate to properly disperse the heat, and in effect 'overcools' itself. The net effect 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. In other words, the A/C has morphed into an old-school icebox.

What Can 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. 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 verify that they are not obstructed by furniture or curtains.
  3. Call Komfort Air. 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 unit freezes over it can lead to damage to the compressor. Replacing your compressor can cost as much as a downpayment on a brand new air conditioner. Actually, many people are forced to pick between installing a new system and repairing the damaged one. If you follow the steps above and quickly call a NATE-certified technician, you stand a better chance of getting a less expensive emergency.

Your technician will advise you of the exact cause and how to avoid the issue from happening again. If a leak was really the cause (and that is rare, but possible), the leak has to be repaired or the unit will likely freeze again.
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