How to Fix a Frozen Air Conditioner

February 23, 2015

Summer’s coming (believe it or not) and here's a typical scenario with the average homeowner: They’re at home, minding their own business, having a bowl of popcorn and watching Netflix, when all of a sudden – that distant awful sound; drip... drip... drip. They glance over to see the household pet licking at a puddle that's gradually forming on the bathroom floor. In a flash: Worry, 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 happen anywhere, from San Antonio to Africa, regardless of climate.

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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 San Antonio area home. The two main reasons why the evaporator coil may freeze:

  1. Airflow restriction
  2. Insufficient refrigerant

Either way, the ending effect is that the air conditioner's evaporator coil does not properly transfer 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. In short, the A/C just turned into an old-school icebox.

What Can 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 and replace any return air filters. Open all the registers completely and verify that they are not blocked by furniture or drapes.
  3. Call San Antonio Air 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 a compressor replacement. Replacing your compressor can cost as much as a downpayment on a brand new air conditioner. Actually, many homeowners are forced to pick between installing a new system and repairing the old model. If you act quickly and 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 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 probably freeze again.
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