How to Fix a Frozen Air Conditioner

February 23, 2015

Summer’s coming (believe it or not) and here's an all-to-familiar scenario with the average homeowner: They’re at home, minding their own business, happily indulging a bowl of popcorn and watching their favorite TV show, when all of a sudden – that distant dreadful sound; drip... drip... drip. They turn their head to see the dog licking at a puddle that's steadily forming on the kitchen floor. Just like that, the mood changes: Concern, stress, and that “how much will this cost?” feeling. Where did the leak come from?; water heater, leaky toilet, shower, faucet? Not necessarily – the central air conditioner is frozen solid. This can happen anywhere, from Toronto to Africa, regardless of climate.

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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 Toronto area home. Usually there are two factors why the evaporator coil may freeze:

  1. The restriction of the system’s airflow
  2. Low refrigerant

Either way, the result is that the air conditioner's evaporator coil cannot operate to properly transfer heat, and consequently 'overcools' itself. The result 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 short, the A/C has morphed into an old-school icebox.

What Should 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 as well as any return air filters. Open all the registers completely and ensure that they are not impeded by furniture or drapes.
  3. Call Service Experts Commercial HVAC. The air conditioning system needs to be serviced by a professional that is NATE-certified 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 lead to an expensive repair. When your AC ices over it can lead to a compressor replacement. Replacing your compressor could easily cost as much as a downpayment on a new system. In fact, many people are forced to decide between installing a new system or repairing the old model. If you act quickly and call a NATE-certified technician, you have better odds of having a less expensive repair.

Your technician will quickly analyze the problem 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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