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 they notice that dreadful sound; drip... drip... drip. They glance over to see the dog licking at a puddle that's slowly forming on the kitchen floor. Suddenly: Worry, stress, and that sinking feeling. What caused the leak?; water heater, leaky toilet, shower, faucet? Nope – the central air conditioner is frozen solid. This can strike anywhere, from Birmingham to Thailand, regardless of climate.
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 Birmingham area home. There are two primary reasons the evaporator coil may freeze:
- Airflow restriction
- Lack of sufficient refrigerant
Either way, the outcome is that the air conditioner's evaporator coil does not properly disperse the heat, and in effect 'overcools' itself. The net effect 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 just turned into an old-school icebox.
What Can You Do When Your A/C Freezes?
- Turn the unit 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.
- Do what you can to ensure airflow is not restricted. Replace the furnace or air handler's filter as well as any return air filters. Open all the registers completely and confirm that they are not impeded by furniture or drapes.
- Call Norrell Service Experts. The air conditioning system needs to be professionally inspected 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 a compressor replacement. Replacing your compressor could cost as much as a downpayment on a brand new air conditioner. Unfortunately, many people are forced to choose between installing a new system and repairing the damaged one. If you follow the steps above and quickly call a NATE-certified technician, you have better odds of getting a less expensive repair. Your technician will quickly analyze the problem and how to avoid the issue from repeating 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.