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 a movie, when all of a sudden – that distant terrible sound; drip... drip... drip. They glance over to see the dog licking at a puddle that's gradually forming on the bathroom floor. In a flash: Anxiety, stress, and that sinking feeling. Where did the leak come from?; water heater, leaky toilet, shower, faucet? Nope – the central air conditioner is frozen solid. This can occur anywhere, from Oklahoma City to Africa, 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 Oklahoma City area home. Usually there are two factors 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 cannot operate to properly dissipate heat, and consequently 'overcools' itself. The net effect 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 has morphed into an old-school icebox.

What Might You Do When Your A/C Freezes?

  1. Turn the system completely off at the thermostat, and don’t try to thaw the system by increasing the temperature at the thermostat. Ensure 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 along with any return air filters. Open all the registers completely and confirm that they are not impeded by furniture or drapes.
  3. Call Gordon's 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 become a costly repair. When your air conditioner freezes over it can lead to damage to the compressor. Replacing your compressor could cost as much as a downpayment on a new system. Actually, many homeowners are forced to decide between installing a new system or repairing the old unit. If you follow the steps above and quickly call a NATE-certified technician, you have better odds 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 exists (and that is rare, but possible), the leak has to be repaired or the unit will most likely freeze again.
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