Posted on: 10 January 2017
Air conditioning systems have a cooling agent known as a refrigerant. It is a fluid that runs through the system, and whose primary function is to cool the air in the home. Low levels of refrigerant in the cooling system can affect the performance of the system; therefore, it is natural to wonder whether one can top up the fluid if its levels are low.
If you are concerned about the refrigerant levels in your air conditioner, it is essential to understand how the fluid works, what it means to have low refrigerant and the right measures that you can take before attempting to top it up.
How does a refrigerant work?
A refrigerant is a chemical fluid that cycles through the air conditioning system to remove heat from the house. It moves through the compressor where there's high pressure which allows it to absorb heat from a room. As it absorbs the heat, it changes from liquid to gas state and moves to the outdoor condenser coil. In the outdoor coil, the refrigerant releases the heat that was absorbed inside the house. The gaseous refrigerant moves to the indoor coil where its pressure and temperature drops and it converts back to liquid state.
The refrigerant cycles the system continuously to cool the home as long as the AC is on. However, there is no point in the cycle where the refrigerant dissipates from the system. As long as the air conditioning unit is working properly, you should never have to worry about topping up the refrigerant.
What does a low refrigerant imply?
There are times when the refrigerant in the AC system may be low, and this usually spells problems for your unit. The most common cause is a refrigerant leak. If the unit is leaking, you could be losing refrigerant as it cycles through the system. Low levels of refrigerant imply that the system will not be able to absorb all the heat in the home, and this will cause inefficiency in performance.
Another common cause of low refrigerant is improper refrigerant charge during installation of the system. This can happen if you don't utilize a professional contractor for the installation. In this case, the AC will display cooling problems immediately after installation.
What if your AC's refrigerant is low?
If you notice cooling problems with your air conditioner and suspect that the refrigerant is low, you should hire a qualified contractor to inspect the system. They will check for leaks and other problems with the system before servicing it to restore the normal refrigerant levels.
Do not attempt to top up the refrigerant in your AC without getting a professional opinion. The underlying cause should be addressed to avoid future problems with the unit.Share