Can I Still Run My Air Conditioning System if It Loses Refrigerant?

Posted by Tom Vatter

One of the more common malfunctions an AC can encounter is a leak that allows its refrigerant to escape. Refrigerant is the heat transference fluid that allows an air conditioner to absorb heat from inside a home, cooling it down and then exhausting the heat to the outside. Your air conditioner has a set level of refrigerant inside it, referred to as the AC’s charge. This level will not lower over the air conditioner’s lifetime… unless it develops a leak.

Can your air conditioner still run and keep cooling down your home if it has a lower amount of refrigerant than normal? The simple answer is, “Yes, but you absolutely should not do this.” If for any reason you suspect that your AC has a refrigerant leak, turn off the system and call for professionals to repair the leak and recharge the refrigerant to its factory-set level.

Why you shouldn’t run an AC with a low charge

Although an air conditioner can still function at lessened cooling power after it loses refrigerant, it will start to sustain serious damage that will eventually lead to larger repair needs and possibly a full system breakdown. The reason for this is that the air conditioner is designed for a very specific refrigerant charge, and when that charge drops it upsets the general operation of the AC. Specifically, it limits how much heat the AC can absorb along the evaporator coil, and this will cause the coil to freeze over. A frozen coil will further lose heat absorption ability, causing more ice to grow until the air conditioner cannot work at all.

Loss of refrigerant will also threaten to damage the compressor, leading to it overheating. If the compressor burns out, the entire air conditioner will often need to be replaced.

Don’t take any chances of these problems occurring in your AC. Call Kool Breeze of Northwest Florida, Inc. at the first indication that your cooling system is losing refrigerant. We will handle whatever air conditioning repairs you need done in Fort Walton Beach, FL.

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