No, You Should Not Have to Refill Your Refrigerant Regularly

Posted by Tom Vatter

HVAC heating and air conditioning residential units or heat pumpsOne of the most common questions we get is in regards to whether or not a customer’s refrigerant needs to be refilled. The short answer is, “It shouldn’t have to be refilled at all, unless something is wrong.”

There is a pretty common misbelief among homeowners that refrigerant is something that diminishes over time, much like gasoline does in a car or some gas-powered appliances. This isn’t the case with refrigerant, though. This important heat-transfer fluid continuously cycles through your air conditioner or heat pump, effectively bringing you a comfortable indoor climate.

Refrigerant from the Start

When your air conditioner or heat pump is installed, it should already have enough refrigerant in it to last its entire lifecycle. There is a chance that at some point you might need a refill—known as a recharge—but this is not something that’s naturally occurring. Rather it, is a part of a Shalimar, FL air conditioning repair call.

If you’ve lost refrigerant, it means your system has a leak. The source of that leak must be found, and the refrigerant line must be repaired so you can restore system efficiency. Otherwise, your AC system will start to develop a number of issues, including:

Decreased Cooling Output

If a leak does occur within your refrigerant line, then your cooling system’s output will drop, along with the drop in refrigerant levels. Eventually, the refrigerant level will decrease to the point that it will cause your cooling system to shut down entirely.

If you do notice decreased cooling output, then you should call us for repairs right away. The issue might be caused by something else, like an air handler issue, but either way, a decrease in cooling output requires an inspection.

Lukewarm Air Coming from Vents

Rather than decreased airflow, you might feel warm are coming out of your vents if you have a refrigerant leak. Having too little refrigerant in you cooling system puts a good amount of extra strain on it. You may end up doing pretty serious and irreversible damage to the compressor if you run your AC with too low of a refrigerant charge on a consistent basis.

Ice Forming on the Evaporator Coil

During the cooling process, refrigerant shifts form a gaseous to liquid form, and is placed under high pressure before it enters the evaporator coils. A valve releases an exact amount of refrigerant into the coils, where the liquid then shifts back to gaseous form. As this happens, it pulls heat from the nearby air, cooling it in the process.

When you’re experiencing a refrigerant leak, though, frost or ice will develop on the outside of the evaporator coil. This ice serves as an insulating barrier between the refrigerant and the air it’s meant to cool, meaning your cooling system will have to work even harder to do its job, until the problem gets so bad that the AC system can’t function.

Contact Kool Breeze of Northwest Florida, Inc. for all of your air conditioning service needs—whether you want to schedule routine maintenance or you suspect you have a refrigerant leak, or some other problem with your AC system.

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