How to Fix a Frozen Air Conditioner

February 23, 2015

Summer’s coming (believe it or not) and here's an often cited scenario with the average homeowner: They’re relaxing in their living room, minding their own business, happily indulging a bowl of popcorn and watching their favorite TV show, when suddenly he/she hears dreadful sound; drip... drip... drip. They turn their head to see the household pet licking at a puddle that's gradually forming on the kitchen floor. Just like that, the mood changes: Anxiety, stress, and that “how much will this cost?” feeling. Where did the leak come from?; water heater, leaky toilet, shower, faucet? Nope – the air conditioning equipment may be frozen. This can occur anywhere, from Ogden to Africa, 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 Ogden area home. Usually there are two factors why the evaporator coil may freeze:

  1. Airflow restriction
  2. Insufficient refrigerant

Either way, the outcome is that the air conditioner's evaporator coil cannot operate to properly dissipate heat, and in effect 'overcools' itself. The impact 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. Yep, the A/C just turned into an old-school icebox.

What Should You Do When Your A/C Freezes?

  1. Turn the system completely off at the thermostat, and do not increase the thermostat temperature as a way to melt the frost on the coils. Just make sure 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 along with any return air filters. Open all the registers completely and verify that they are not blocked by furniture or drapery.
  3. Call Barlow 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 AC freezes over it can lead to damage to the compressor. Replacing your compressor could easily cost as much as a downpayment on a high efficiency model. Unfortunately, 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 have better odds of having a less expensive emergency.

Your technician will diagnose the situation and how to avoid the issue from happening again. If a leak exists (and that is rare, but possible), the leak has to be repaired or the unit will probably freeze again.
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