How to Fix a Frozen Air Conditioner 

Summer’s coming (we promise) and here’s a common scenario with the average homeowner: They’re relaxing in their living room, minding their own business, enjoying a bowl of popcorn and watching Netflix, when all of a sudden – that distant terrible sound; drip… drip… drip. They turn their head to see the dog licking at a puddle that’s gradually forming on the bathroom floor. Suddenly: Worry, stress, and that sinking feeling. Where did the leak come from?; water heater, leaky toilet, shower, faucet? No – it’s the air conditioner of all things. This can happen anywhere, from Winnipeg to Africa, regardless of climate.

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

    1. Airflow restriction
    1. Low refrigerant

Either way, the ending effect is that the air conditioner’s evaporator coil will be unable to properly transfer heat, and in effect ‘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?

    • 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. Ensure the A/C system is completely OFF.
    • 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 curtains.

What Does it Cost to Repair?

This can lead to a pricey repair. When your AC freezes over it can lead to damage to the compressor. Replacing your compressor could easily cost as much as a downpayment on a brand new air conditioner. In fact, many homeowners are forced to decide between installing a new system or repairing the old unit. If you act quickly and call a ACE-certified technician, you stand a better chance of getting a less expensive emergency.

Your technician will quickly analyze the problem and how to avoid the issue from occurring in the future. 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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