How to Fix a Frozen Air Conditioner

February 23, 2015

Summer’s coming (we promise) 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 all of a sudden – that distant awful sound; drip... drip... drip. They turn their head to see the dog licking at a puddle that's gradually forming on the dining room floor. Just like that, the mood changes: Anxiety, stress, and that ”oh brother!” feeling. What caused the leak?; water heater, leaky toilet, shower, faucet? No – it's the air conditioner of all things. This can happen anywhere, from Tulsa to Timbuktu, 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 Tulsa area home. Usually there are two factors 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 will be unable to properly disperse the heat, and in essence 'overcools' itself. The impact of this super-cooling is condensation (that's water formation), and finally ice forms from that condensation as it cools below the freezing point. In short, the A/C transformed 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. 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 Jack Nelson 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 an expensive repair. When your AC ices over it can lead to damage to the compressor. Replacing your compressor could cost as much as a downpayment on a new system. In fact, many people are forced to pick between installing a new system and repairing the damaged unit. If you move fast, follow the instructions, 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 occurring 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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