Are you sure the refrigerant level in your air conditioner is up to specifications? Refrigerant is the lifeblood of your air conditioner that ensures effective, efficient cooling of your home. If the refrigerant level isn’t checked — always a part of annual maintenance by a certified HVAC technician — leakage or other issues may reduce the refrigerant charge below the minimum recommendation. Low refrigerant charge in your air conditioner can trigger a number of symptoms that shouldn’t be ignored. These include:
- Your house doesn’t cool down quickly (or at all). The lower the refrigerant charge, the longer it takes for the air conditioner to extract heat from the house and move it outdoors. In some cases, an AC with insufficient refrigerant will not be able to achieve normal thermostat settings.
- Warm air from HVAC vents. If the thermostat mode is “Cool” and the desired temperature setting is correct (it’s a good idea to check and make sure) but air coming from the vents in rooms is still warm, that’s a problem. Refrigerant loss from some source may be the reason.
- Cooling costs climbing. If your monthly electric bill is rising in summer without any explanation such as higher utility costs, the air conditioner may be running longer cycles due to insufficient refrigerant.
- Ice on coils. The indoor AC evaporator coil located in the system air handler may accumulate ice. Icing on coils usually indicates some sort of malfunction, and refrigerant loss is the most common cause.
- AC turns off completely. If the refrigerant charge drops low enough, a safety sensor in the system may shut down the unit entirely.
If Refrigerant Is Low
A qualified HVAC technician can measure the system refrigerant level. In most cases, low refrigerant is due to leakage somewhere. Leaks may occur in coils, refrigerant lines connecting indoor and outdoor units of a central AC, or inside components such as the system compressor. The technician can utilize specialized technology to detect even tiny refrigerant leaks and then make necessary repairs.
For more about potential issues relating to the AC refrigerant level, contact the experts at Detmer and Sons.