What Happens When Refrigerant Levels in My AC Drop?

Refrigerant is a vital part of the air conditioning process, but few people truly understand how it works. Ideally, your air conditioning system keeps it on a closed loop, and levels shouldn’t go down at all. This flies in the face of popular perception, which suggests that air conditioners consume refrigerant like a car consumes gasoline. Nothing could be further from the truth. Accordingly, if an air conditioning technician simple adds refrigerant to your system, he’s not fixing the problem. You need a trained professional to locate the place where it’s leaking and seal it before recharging refrigerant levels. Knowing what happens when refrigerant levels drop can help explain the process better.

Liquid to Gas and Back Again

Refrigerant is used in air conditioners because it shifts from liquid to gaseous state and back as a fairly low temperature, and pulls heat out of the surrounding air as it does so. (The term encompasses a number of specific formulas, and your AC unit needs a specific type in a specific amount to work). Liquid refrigerant enters the evaporator coils under a great deal of pressure, then shifts into a gaseous form when it’s there. The effects pull heat out of the air around the coils, which can then be blown into your home.

When Happens With a Leak

A leak in the refrigerant throws off the delicate balance required to make the system work. Frost will form on the evaporator coils, which will interfere with the cooling process and force your air conditioner to work harder to do its job. Your energy bills will go up, as will the chances of a breakdown later. You can’t simply recharge the refrigerant without addressing the leak first. Only when the system is sealed again can you set the levels to their proper amounts and restore your system to full efficiency.

Here in Portland, OR, the experts at Clean Air Act can resolve refrigerant leaks the right way. Give us a call today!

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