Russell's Heating & AC
Jul 17 2018

Why Low Refrigerant in Your Air Conditioner Is a Big Problem

Refrigerant is a chemical blend that cycles through an air conditioner, changing from a liquid to a gas and back again as it releases and absorbs heat. Through this process, heat exchange, the refrigerant removes heat from inside a house, cooling down the space, and releases the heat to the outdoors. Although the refrigerant goes through repeated cycles of evaporation (when it absorbs heat) and condensation (when it releases heat), it does not dissipate: it remains at a set level, known as its charge. Every air conditioner has a set charge level to provide the right balance for heat exchange.

What happens if your air conditioner has a low refrigerant charge? This will cause serious problems with the AC’s operation and will eventually lead to a complete loss of cooling ability. Whenever you think your air conditioner is malfunctioning, call right away for repairs. Russell’s Heating and Air Conditioning has 24-hour emergency service for air conditioning repairs in Redlands, CA.

What goes wrong when the refrigerant is low

Low refrigerant usually occurs because of leaks along the line or in the compressor. Because refrigerant usually evaporates as it escapes, you won’t notice any dripping. Instead, the first sign you’ll see of the loss of refrigerant will be frost over the indoor coils.

Why would losing refrigerant make the coils frost over? The reason is that the indoor coil serves as the evaporator coil, where the refrigerant absorbs heat. With less refrigerant, there is less heat absorption. The coil remains cold, and moisture begins to freeze across it. The more frost develops, the more the level of heat absorption drops, initiating a downward cycle the will end with a solid block of ice covering the indoor coil that fully blocks heat exchange.

Another problem that low refrigerant causes is damage to the compressor. This pump device supplies the energy to the refrigerant to make it into a hot gas. The compressor will start to suffer damage if there is too little refrigerant in the system, since it is designed to compress a specific amount of the chemical. The compressor might break, which will stop the AC from working at all.

The repairs are simple—for professionals

Locating a refrigerant leak and sealing it is something that only trained HVAC technicians should do. Once they closed up the leak, they will recharge the refrigerant, making certain not to overcharge it (which is as problematic as a loss of refrigerant) using the correct blend. This will return the air conditioner to its normal operation.

Russell’s Heating and Air Conditioning has 30 years of history with air conditioning repair service in Redlands, CA. No matter your trouble with your cooling system, our skilled technicians can fix it fast and right the first time.

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