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301-670-0034

Serving Washington D.C., Montgomery & Frederick Counties

301-670-0034

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What Low Refrigerant Can Do to an Air Conditioner

compressor-in-ac-unit

Leaking refrigerant is one of the most serious problems an air conditioning system can face. Refrigerant is the chemical blend that’s responsible for the heat exchange process (moving heat from inside the home to the outside) that allows the AC to do its work. Because an air conditioner is designed to use a specific amount of refrigerant—known as the AC’s charge—the loss of refrigerant puts the air conditioner’s operation and service life in jeopardy.

Fortunately, if you notice the symptoms in time, you can call for AC repair in Frederick, MD to fix your leaking air conditioning system. Here’s some of what you’ll prevent:

A rise in indoor humidity

An air conditioning system isn’t specifically a dehumidifier. If you want precision humidity control, you’ll need to schedule installation of a whole-house dehumidifier. But the AC does draw some moisture from the air as it evaporates cold refrigerant in the evaporator coil. When there’s less refrigerant, humidity levels will rise in the house.

A drop in cooling ability

When the refrigerant charge drops, the AC won’t be able to absorb enough heat through the indoor coils, causing a cooling decline in the house.

Frozen evaporator coil

This is one of the big warning signs that your air conditioner has a refrigerant leak. It may seem strange that losing refrigerant would cause icing. But what happens is the reduced refrigerant charge in the evaporator coil won’t warm up enough when there’s less refrigerant—so the remaining refrigerant stays too cold and moisture freezes along the coil. Don’t try to scrape off the ice! Call for a technician to see if you have refrigerant leaks.

Broken compressor

This is how loss of refrigerant eventually brings an air conditioning system to a halt. Likely a permanent halt. The compressor is the heart of the AC; it’s where refrigerant is put under pressure to change it into a hot gas that will circulate through the system. The compressor is designed for a specific charge, and if there is too little refrigerant, the compressor will overheat and burnout. Because replacing the compressor is expensive, it’s usually better to replace the entire cooling system.

Only Professionals Can Recharge an AC

This is important to know: only licensed technicians can do the job of first sealing up the leaks in the air conditioner’s refrigerant lines and then restoring the lost refrigerant to the system. Refrigerant is a harmful chemical, and only people with special certification are permitted to handle it and dispose of it. A licensed technician will also know exactly how much refrigerant to put back in the system. A danger of having amateurs do this job is putting in too much refrigerant. This is as bad as too little, since it will cause backslugging, when cold liquid refrigerant enters the compressor and causes it to fail.

You can rely on our expert HVAC technicians to handle your undercharged AC or any repair service you need. We pride ourselves on delivering quality on each job.

Tuckers Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing—we pledge to excel expectations at every turn! Schedule AC repair service today.

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