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 a typical 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 all of a sudden – that distant terrible sound; drip... drip... drip. They look over to see the dog licking at a puddle that's gradually forming on the kitchen floor. Just like that, the mood changes: Anxiety, stress, and that sinking feeling. How did the leak start?; water heater, leaky toilet, shower, faucet? Not necessarily – the air conditioning equipment may be frozen. This can occur anywhere, from Calgary to Timbuktu, 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 Calgary area home. The two main reasons why 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 will be unable to properly dissipate heat, and in essence '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 Can You Do When Your A/C Freezes?

  1. Turn the A/C 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. Confirm that there is nothing restricting the airflow to the system. Replace the furnace or air handler's filter along with any return air filters. Open all the registers completely and ensure that they are not blocked by furniture or drapes.
  3. Call A1 Chesney 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 an expensive repair. When your unit freezes over it can lead to a compressor replacement. Replacing your compressor could easily cost as much as a downpayment on a new system. Actually, many people are forced to pick between installing a new system vs repairing the old unit. If you move fast, follow the instructions, and call a NATE-certified technician, you have better odds of having 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 was really the cause (and that is rare, but possible), the leak has to be repaired or the unit will most likely freeze again.
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