Russell's Heating & AC
Jul 17 2018

Air Conditioning in Redlands, CA: How Leaking Refrigerant Affects your Air Conditioner

Every air conditioning system uses refrigerant. Without it, the system can’t work. The refrigerant in your system switches back and forth between gaseous and liquid states as part of the normal heating and cooling process. If there is a loss of refrigerant in your system, typically due to a leak, it can cause a number of problems.

Your AC Is a Closed System

Your air conditioner is a closed system; as such, if you are losing refrigerant, this is a sign that an existing leak needs to be found before recharging the refrigerant. Why? Adding more refrigerant does not fix the leak, and you may very well find yourself needing to recharge your refrigerant again. Therefore, it’s best to have a Russell’s Heating and Air Conditioning specialist repair the leak before adding more refrigerant to your system.

How Leaking Refrigerant Affects Your AC

There are a number of ways leaky refrigerant can adversely affect your system:

  • Less efficiency
  • More wear-and-tear on your system
  • Lack of cool air
  • Stress on specific parts of your system, such as the compressor, condenser and/or evaporator
  • Potential  icing 

How does leaky refrigerant have the potential to cause these problems?

The refrigerant in your system facilitates the exchange of heat between the outdoor air and that within your home. It does this through an interchange of states between gas and liquid, but it doesn’t change states on its own – this is where the compressor, condenser and evaporator come into play. When the refrigerant is not at the correct level, each of these parts has to work harder to make the refrigerant do its job. If this happens, your system may become less efficient as it works harder, and uses more energy, to achieve the set temperature.

A second problem that can occur due to leaky refrigerant is overheating. When a part or component of your air conditioning system works too hard, it can become overheated; this, in turn, can increase the potential for stress, damage and/or breakdown.

Lastly, when refrigerant runs low, it can cause icing on the indoor evaporator coils. How? Low refrigerant may cause certain parts of the coil to be colder than others. This can create condensation on the warmer parts of the coil that can freeze into ice.

Don’t Let Leaks Go

The refrigerant in your AC system does not get used like gas in a car – ideally, it stays the same for the life of your system. If you think you may have a refrigerant leak in your air condition, call Russell’s Heating and Air Conditioning right away – your trusted source for air conditioning services in Redlands, CA.

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