Summer’s coming (we promise) and here's a common scenario with the average homeowner: They’re sitting in their house, minding their own business, happily indulging a bowl of popcorn and watching their favorite TV show, when they notice that terrible sound; drip... drip... drip. They look over to see the dog licking at a puddle that's gradually forming on the dining room floor. Suddenly: Anxiety, stress, and that ”oh brother!” feeling. Where did the leak come from?; water heater, leaky toilet, shower, faucet? Nope – it's the air conditioner of all things. This can happen anywhere, from Houston to Thailand, regardless of summer heat.
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 Houston area home. There are two primary reasons the evaporator coil may freeze:
- The restriction of the system’s airflow
- Low refrigerant
Either way, the ending effect is that the air conditioner's evaporator coil will be unable to properly transfer heat, and in essence 'overcools' itself. The result 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 transformed into an old-school icebox.
What Might You Do When Your A/C Freezes?
- Turn the A/C completely off at the thermostat, and don’t try to thaw the system by increasing the temperature at the thermostat. Just make sure 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 and replace any return air filters. Open all the registers completely and confirm that they are not obstructed by furniture or drapes.
- Call Church Services. 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 a costly repair. When your unit ices over it can lead to damage to the compressor. Replacing your compressor can cost as much as a downpayment on a high efficiency model. In fact, many homeowners are forced to choose between installing a new system vs repairing the old unit. If you act quickly and call a NATE-certified technician, you have better odds of getting a less expensive job. Your technician will quickly analyze the problem and how to avoid the issue from happening again. If a leak was really the cause (and that is rare, but possible), the leak has to be repaired or the unit will probably freeze again.