Reasons Why Your Air Conditioner Cannot Work Without A Refrigerant


Any air conditioner is reliant on a suitable refrigerant so that it can operate. Most people are aware of this, but not many know the reason why. Under the majority of circumstances, it is normal for consumers without any experience in HVAC systems to not know the way that an air conditioner works. Yet there are a few ways in which that these systems can experience a refrigerant leak, which usually results in significant problems. For this reason, it is a good idea to find out how a refrigerant interacts in an air conditioner, which makes it easier to recognize when an issue arises.

What Is Refrigerant?

Refrigerants which are also known by its trademarked term “Freon”, is a term used to cover a variety of differing heat-transfer fluids. In fact, there is not a single material which is referred simply to as a “refrigerant.” The refrigerants operate when they are evaporated and then condensed inside an air conditioner, where they absorb heat, where it is then transferred to the outside. When the refrigerant evaporates, it will absorb the heat from the air. When it condenses, it releases this heat. The process involves the air-conditioner evaporating the refrigerant inside the unit in order to absorb the heat and then condenses this heat outside the unit where it is released outside the house. Without a refrigerant that absorbs and then releases the heat, an air-conditioner would only be a set of giant fans.

Issues With Refrigerants

An air conditioner does not consume a refrigerant to cool spaces. Instead it recycles the refrigerant over and over again through the system for the entire service life. One of the more common refrigerant issues is when the air conditioner develops a leak which usually develops inside a refrigerant line. When this occurs, the refrigerant level drops until such stage that the system is no longer able to sustain the correct cooling functions. Over time the air-conditioner will eventually break down.

Will My Air Conditioning System Still Run If It Loses Refrigerant?

Every air conditioning system has a refrigerant level that is set, which is known as the ACs charge. This level is not supposed to lower or deplete over the lifetime of the system, unless a leak has developed. Many people ask if their air conditioner will still be able to run as well as keep cooling their home, even when the refrigerant level is lower than normal. The answer is yes, but it is not advisable to allow your AC system to carry on running if you suspect the system has a leak. If this occurs HVAC experts all recommend shutting down the system and calling an air-conditioner contractor to repair your leak along with recharging your refrigerant to a factory-set level.

Reasons Why You Should Never Run Your AC With A Low Charge

Even though air conditioners are still able to function when the cooling power is lessened, as it starts to lose refrigerant, the system will start to experience significant damages that will lead to costly repairs or even possibly a complete system breakdown. This is because air conditioners are designed to hold a highly specific refrigerant-charge. When this charge drops it will upset the general operation of your AC. More specifically, it will limit the amount of heat that the AC is able to absorb in addition to the evaporator coil. This will result in the coil freezing over. The frozen coils will carry on losing its heat absorption abilities, which results in more ice growing over the coils, until such stage that the system is no longer able to operate.

The depletion of refrigerant can also result in causing damages to the compressor which will lead to overheating. If the compressor stops working and burns out, the air conditioner parts will not be able to be repaired, resulting in an entire replacement.

An AC Does Not Use Up Its Refrigerant

Many homeowners are not aware about technical details on how an air-conditioning system operates. There are some common misconceptions about ACs, that often hinder the way in which to care for a system properly as well as knowing when you should call a HVAC professional for repairs. The biggest myth on how the refrigerants works is that a refrigerant is not a type of fuel for an air conditioner.

Many people have made the mistake of thinking of refrigerants that run through the system is something that the AC consumes to operate, in a similar way that an engine inside a vehicle consumes gasoline followed by exhausting a by-product in the form of fumes. However, they are actually nothing alike. An air-conditioner will not use up the refrigerant and then exhaust it when cooling. Instead it utilizes refrigerant in order to conduct heat transfer that move the heat inside your home outside, in these processes it will not dissipate. Refrigerant cycles through an AC, change from liquids into a gas and then into a liquid again. This process repeats over-and-over.

If your AC ever loses any of its original charge, which only occurs from a leak, it is regarded as one of the more major types of repair issues. Another misconception is that an air-conditioner can still run okay when it has only lost a bit of its charge. The AC will not only begin to lose cooling power, but a drop in the refrigerant will also start to endanger other components that only work on the specified charge. It will eventually result in compressor burn out, which may require the replacement of your entire air-conditioning system.

If you start to notice a drop in how your air conditioner used to cool your home or you notice the build up of ice along the evaporator coils, or you start to notice hissing noises, call an air conditioning technician immediately to conduct repairs as quickly as possible, as a refrigerant leak could be detrimental for your AC system. If there is a leak, your technician will work on sealing the leak followed by recharging your refrigerant to the correct level.

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