Troubleshooting Coolant Issues in Your Air-Conditioning
If there is one thing that all of us can agree on about air-conditioning, it’s the fact that we appreciate having it when the weather is hot outside. Although it may be unbearable when we step outdoors, we get that cold blast of air when we step inside and it cools us off quickly. It also allows us to be comfortable in our home and even to sleep well at night. There is no doubt that we wouldn’t live as comfortably without the air-conditioning, but it doesn’t mean that it is never without trouble.
If you have had AC for any length of time, you have probably experienced an issue where suddenly, it is not blowing quite so cold any longer. It may happen all of the sudden or perhaps you noticed that it is running more frequently in order to keep the home at a comfortable temperature. This may not be a problem with the unit itself that would require it to be completely replaced. In many cases, it has to do with a coolant issue in the air-conditioning unit. How can you know the difference?
There are a number of problems that can occur with the air-conditioning refrigerant. One of the most common problems, however, is for the refrigerant level to get low. You might think that it is just a simple case of having a technician come out and add additional freon to the air-conditioning unit. Although this may work on a temporary basis, if your freon is low at this point, it is likely to continue to drop and you will end up having to have it filled again. This can also be an environmental issue, as you will soon see.
If you have an older air-conditioning unit that was manufactured prior to 2010, it was filled with R-22 refrigerant. This is a very efficient type of refrigerant that can easily remove both the heat and the moisture from the air inside of the home. The problem is, it is also extremely damaging to the environment. If freon is allowed to be released into the atmosphere, it will cause a number of different types of issues. Perhaps the most notable of those problems come in the form of a hole in the ozone layer. This is something that is actually threatening life on earth, which is why the governments in many countries decided to cut back on the use of R-22.
In 2010, many developing countries, including the United States, decided they would cut back on the use of freon and eventually, get rid of it altogether. Since that year, they have been steadily declining the amount of freon that is manufactured in the United States. By 2020, it will not be manufactured any longer or imported and by 2030, it will be illegal to use it. This causes the price of freon to rise considerably, which is another coolant issue that many people with older air-conditioning units are facing.
One thing that many homeowners are not aware of is the fact that an air-conditioning unit is a closed circuit. When freon is put in the AC unit during the manufacturing process, it is going to remain in the unit throughout its life. The only way that you would have a need to replace the refrigerant or to “top it off” is if there was an active leak somewhere in the air conditioner. In most cases, the leak is only going to get worse.
A technician may be able to come to your home and add some R-22 to the unit but it is going to come at a cost. First of all, the price of R-22 is on the rise and as we discussed earlier, it is only going to get more expensive. Secondly, adding freon to the air conditioner without identifying and fixing the leak is an exercise in futility. Any benefit that you experience because the level of freon is topped up is going to be temporary. Eventually, you will have to have additional freon added and the price can add up very quickly.
Another issue that can occur is for too much refrigerant to be in the unit. This isn’t something that is going to happen over time, but it occurs when you have some type of maintenance done on the air conditioner or if there was an issue with too much refrigerant being added during the manufacturing process. This is something that can be checked by a technician if you suspect that a problem with overcharging is occurring.
There is another reason why you may be low on refrigerant, but it is unlikely to occur. If you have recently had your AC unit worked on and the refrigerant was removed, it may not have been added back into the air conditioner in the proper amounts. In rare cases, it may also be a problem that comes from the factory. The only way for you to know the differences to have a technician come to your home, test the air-conditioning unit and discover if there is an active leak or not. R 20 refrigerant available now.
Fixing any active leak and having the AC unit recharged is going to bring it back to its former glory. Even though you may be running the air conditioner on an ongoing basis now to keep your home cool, you will likely find that you are running it less frequently and still enjoying that comfort that only an air-conditioner can bring during the warm weather.
Coolant issues with your air-conditioning unit are only one of the many problems that can occur. Sometimes, it might be something totally unexpected. You might have issues with inadequate maintenance, failure of the electric or inner components, problems with the sensors, problems with drainage and the possibility of an inadequate AC unit for the area it is trying to cool. These are all things that can be discussed with your technician so that you can get your AC unit back up and running and get your home comfortable again.