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 common scenario with the average homeowner: They’re at home, minding their own business, happily indulging a bowl of popcorn and watching a movie, when they notice that terrible sound; drip... drip... drip. They turn their head to see the household pet licking at a puddle that's slowly forming on the bathroom floor. Just like that, the mood changes: Worry, stress, and that “how much will this cost?” feeling. What caused the leak?; water heater, leaky toilet, shower, faucet? Not necessarily – the air conditioning equipment may be frozen. This can occur anywhere, from Hilton Head Island to Africa, 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 Hilton Head Island area home. Usually there are two factors why the evaporator coil may freeze:

  1. Airflow restriction
  2. Lack of sufficient refrigerant

Either way, the result is that the air conditioner's evaporator coil will be unable to properly disperse the heat, and in effect 'overcools' itself. The impact of this super-cooling is condensation (that's water formation), and eventually ice forms from that condensation as it cools below the freezing point. In short, the A/C just turned 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 don’t try to thaw the system by increasing the temperature at the thermostat. It is important that 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 verify that they are not obstructed by furniture or drapery.
  3. Call Epperson Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning. 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 an expensive repair. When your AC freezes over it can lead to a totaled compressor. Replacing your compressor could cost as much as a downpayment on a high efficiency model. Actually, many homeowners are forced to choose between installing a new system or repairing the old model. If you act quickly and call a NATE-certified technician, you stand a better chance of having a less expensive job.

Your technician will diagnose the situation and how to avoid the issue from repeating in the future. If a leak is present (and that is rare, but possible), the leak has to be repaired or the unit will most likely freeze again.
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